It’s not my job. – You’re right! I’ve only seen “kindness” in one job description and that was for an organization called “Think Kindness” being kind is easy.
Kindness might even be too touchy-feely for some companies to talk about, but at least one CEO says that they encourage their employees to be kind to one another.
- “I’d feel uncomfortable.” – When I hear anyone using this as a reason for not doing something that clearly should be done I throw up my hands and start ranting about the ridiculousness of using our comfort as a standard for what we need to do as leaders. As a leader, we can’t afford the luxury of using our comfort zone as a guide to our actions.
Although there are many other qualities that I value in effective project leaders, kindness is becoming a higher priority for me as I learn more about the keys to unlocking human potential.
Research has proven that the most effective way to improve performance is to increase a person’s self-assurance. Marcus Buckingham, in the book “The One Thing You Need to Know”, specifically states that “The best state of mind to promote if you want to encourage someone to be successful is a fully realistic assessment of the difficulty of the challenge ahead of him, and, at the same time, an unrealistically optimistic belief in his ability to overcome it.”
And Professor Robert Caldini’s famous 6 principles of influence include reciprocity, a tendency we have as humans to treat others as they treat us, so at the very least we ought to be kind for purely selfish reasons.
“It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than ‘try to be a little kinder’“
– Aldous Huxley, Author of “Brave New World”
Like this famous novelist, I’m embarrassed to admit how long it has taken me to comprehend the importance of kindness, and how essential it is for any endeavor involving more than one human being.
In fact, I’m starting to believe that one could build an entire career based on a simple strategy of being kind to others – although probably not in project management – at least not as long as team members insist on ignoring their action items until a pointy-toed-boot is rammed up their ass!
OK, I’ve CLEARLY got some more work to do, but don’t give up on me! Let’s practice kindness in the project environment this week. Here are a few practical ways to do that:
- Write personal notes to each of your teammates telling them which of their strengths you most appreciate in the current project. (Yes, you have to find something nice to say to each person, even the moron who drives you crazy. And make sure it’s sincere!)
- Next time someone on your team makes an obvious mistake say something like “Oh, yes, that’s unfortunate, but I’ve done much more boneheaded things, and we can learn something valuable from this.”
- Be like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory and bring a hot beverage to a busy teammate’s desk.
Let’s all implement the sage advice of the eighth verse of the Tao this week. Do some experiments and share additional ideas, and your results, here. I’m definitely looking forward to learning from you, and my colleagues are eager for my rapid improvement! – Kimberly
Let’s start saying it’s my job to be kind, rather than it’s not my job!
Kimberly Wiefling is the author of Scrappy Project Management, published in Japanese, and the executive editor of the whole series of 5 “Scrappy Guides”. Her favorite is Scrappy Women in Business, a collection of the stories of a dozen scrappy businesswomen. She works primarily with globalizing Japanese businesses, traveling extensively in the US, Europe and Asia.
©Copyright 2001-2020 Kimberly Wiefling Consulting.
All Rights Reserved. Re-printed with permission.
If you like to know more about how kindness can work for you, book an appointment with Mari-Lyn. If you would like more training with your leaders, call on Kimberly.