Is Kindness the perfect platform for business? 5 ways kindness is perfect for business.
I started painting recently. I never painted before, and all of a sudden I’m finding myself exploring colors and techniques on large canvases. Something about moving to San Diego really helped me connect with that additional aspect of myself.
Moving to San Diego from Israel via Berkeley, this is the first time I feel safer. Interesting, isn’t it? Feeling safe allows us to do more, explore more, and be more. It’s true for external conditions but even more so to emotional conditions-how we are treated and how we treat ourselves affects how much we can produce emotionally and intellectually.
Do we feel more creative, innovative, alert to possibilities and threats when we feel safe or is it easier for us to be creative under distress? Can we build trust, resolve conflicts, and work as a team when we feel respected, or is it better when we feel we are not treated as equals?
What would happen if we were kinder to our employees?
Kindness is currently perceived as the weakest strategy in business. For most managers trusting others or treating them as equals means not making deadlines, being stepped on or being taken advantage of. We know that kinder leadership leads to better productivity simply because when people feel safe, appreciated and happy they care to give more of themselves, but something seems to be getting in the way.
Isn’t it true that if we could remove the dysfunctional aspects of a kinder management style we would have the perfect platform for business success? Sure it is.
So here is where our challenge lays: “How do we remove the dysfunctional by products of kindness to enjoy the rewarding (both emotionally and financially) fruits it bares?”
The KindExcellence management approach focuses on answering this exact question.
It turns out that when kindness stands alone it is easy to manipulate it, but when it is combined with a strong set of skills, it turns into the most effective management approach. This means that kindness needs the support of a system, a way to by pass dysfunctions without contradicting the values that underline kindness.
Here are a few highlights of why and how KindExcellence works:
1. The dysfunctions have nothing to do with kindness – once you’ll understand that mediocrity and not making dead lines has nothing to do with kindness and everything to do with communicating expectations, planning, training etc. you’ll be able to quadruple your team’s productivity.
2. The skills you acquired intuitively can be taught – managers assume that since they had to acquire skills like prioritizing, time management, strategic thinking, and other complex thinking skills intuitively or over many years it means that employees will have to acquire these skills themselves. It’s the either you have it or you don’t approach. In reality managers need to learn how to turn expert thinking skills to tools they can teach to novices. In KindExcellence language this process of teaching expert skills to novices is called “Real Knowledge”
3. You need to know what to teach – stop talking about tasks and start talking about thinking skills. Meet regularly with your employees and when tasks where not met go into the mechanism that got in the way and then provide thinking skills. Be sure to provide skills instead of advice.
4. Communicate your expectations and know your boundaries – if you can’t articulate your expectations and boundaries how do you expect others to follow?
5. Work on prevention instead of correction – devote time to training, set time to talk about expectations before anything happens, not after. Giving feedback right after something happened is good conditioning, it’s much better than waiting. But it is far less effective than setting clear expectations, providing training and reinforcing success.
When managers take responsibility for their role as managers, as opposed to coordinators or doers, once they work to provide their team with the tools required for excellence, kindness is the natural choice. It’s then that the combination of KindExcellence becomes a double prize.
This was originally posted May 23, 2008, on HeartJam.com. Reut and I have had several conversations on how Kindness can really change a workplace. I would like to feature your story if you have adopted Kindness in your business. As Reut says so perfectly..”Kindness can not survive without top business skills. Top business skills without kindness will not lead to sustainable excellence.”
Written by Reut Schwartz-Hebron is an international speaker and trainer. She is the author of Outswim the Sharks: How to Quadruple Your Team’s Productivity with Kindness. Reut can be reached at reut@KindExcellence.com