When it comes to career success and professional aspirations, kindness is easily overlooked in favor of qualities like work ethic, tenacity, and perseverance. Many people falsely believe that being nice will hinder your career. While being overly nice or passive can hold you back in certain situations, genuine kindness plays an integral role in the workplace and can be a valuable tool for your success. The concept of “paying it forward” may not seem important in the workplace, but the significance of treating others with respect, compassion, tolerance and common decency should not be underestimated.
These actions provide numerous benefits in social situations and in the workplace—not only for the recipient but also for you. From interpersonal connections to professional opportunities, here are five ways being kind can lead to career success.
Being Kind Improves Networking Opportunities
“It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.” You’ve probably heard this multiple times, but this is actually sound advice. When it comes to finding job leads, getting a promotion or raise, or being selected for a role over other qualified candidates, your connections can make a big difference. Pay close attention to the way you treat people, regardless of if they’re customers, coworkers or supervisors. Remember, the first impression can be the last impression, and your reputation stays with you as you climb the corporate ladder.
Courteous and charitable behaviors produce a magnetic effect that other people are inherently drawn to. Use this influential force to your benefit when making professional connections, interacting with customers, growing a client base, working with customers or establishing your presence on the job market. Besides making a positive first impression, you can also increase the chances of potential customers, employers, and business contacts remembering your name in the future.
Being Kind Maximizes Collaborative Success
No matter which industry you’re in, you need to be able to work with others. You don’t have to necessary like everyone you work with, but you have to find a way to get along well enough to get the job done. “You need a team around you, at work, at home, and in your personal and professional development,” says Dustin McKissen Inc.Columnist and Linkedin Top Voice. “And the fastest way to get someone on your team is to do something kind for them. And not only is kindness a good way to get people on your team, but it’s also a show of strength and leadership that inspires others.”
When you earn a reputation for treating others with respect, you become a valuable asset in teamwork situations. Your colleagues and supervisors are more inclined to choose to work with someone with whom they enjoy interacting.
Always try to acknowledge your co-workers’ skill sets, opinions, and efforts, and create an understanding of mutual respect. This gives you an advantage with group projects or assignments and makes you more likely to be selected for new opportunities or special projects. When you’re a team player at work, you make everyone around you better, and you set yourself apart as an important, contributing member of the organization.
Being Kind Creates a Ripple Effect
Whether you work at a startup, a small company or a big business, most offices have a number of people in a limited space. This means that both good and bad moods can easily permeate throughout the office and shift the mood of the entire team. Don’t be the person who comes to work and brings others down. Think of how much time you spend at work, why not create a more positive, upbeat environment for yourself and your coworkers?
When you’re kind to others, it creates a ripple effect and inspires others to act in the same way. A study in the Proceedings of Natural Sciences shows that generous behavior is actually contagious. When you’re kind to others or do something nice for someone else, it creates a ripple effect which inspires others to act in a similar way.
While your CEO or supervisor can and should promote this behavior from the top down, why not take it upon yourself to be a positive influence in the workplace? In addition to making others feel better, it will help you feel more positive and at ease at work, which can make your day-to-day tasks seem less daunting and monotonous.
Being Kind Counteracts High-Stress Deadlines
According to research conducted at Yale and UCLA, actions which encourage altruism can neutralize environments of tension or anxiety. This is an effective tool when you have tight deadlines, corporate meetings, and seminars, or unexpected obligations in the office.
Scientific studies show that humans are wired for kindness, but it can be easy to lose sight of how we treat each other in times of stress. While it may take more effort to practice this behavior during stressful situations, it’s especially crucial during these times. Your kindness can not only counteract anxiety and stress, it can also boost morale and create an atmosphere of enhanced positivity in the office.
Being Kind Prompts Attention from Superiors
When it comes to career advancement, it’s not all about the numbers. Yes, results are critical, but there are also intangible qualities for which supervisors and managers are looking. Employees with a proven track record of consideration in the workplace demonstrate their aptitude for leading, communicating, motivating and forging relationships with their peers. “Research shows that a positive, cheerful person is more likely to be paid more and promoted faster,” according to Fast Company. “It may be easy to keep a good attitude when all is well, but when the chips are down, a person’s true character usually shows.”
When a promotion or opening in another department becomes available, employers take these qualities into consideration. Sometimes, personality traits can give you an edge over a coworker with similar performance metrics. So ensuring that your attitude reflects kindness to each member of the team could accelerate your position and impact within the company.
Being Kind Increases Productivity and Efficiency
Interacting with your co-workers in a personable manner builds a rapport which goes beyond the dividing walls of each cubicle and brings solidarity to the entire operation. This mutual understanding of shared goals and partnerships can boost performance and generate more output, growth, and profit.
“Kindness in the workplace has sometimes been perceived as weakness,” according to Cornerstone Dynamics. “But top management thinkers are beginning to tout it as an overlooked tool for productivity—and scientific evidence supports their view. It seems that a culture of caring and compassion can build employee engagement, reduce staff downtime and even keep us all healthier!” There is a noticeable shift in work ethic when there is team continuity and when people feel that they’re valued and important.
Believe it or not, kindness is a lesser-known catalyst for positivity, success and career growth. When you incorporate kindness and compassion into your daily routine, it affects positive change, for you and for your co-workers. So don’t forget to look for ways to promote kindness in the workplace.
Have you found creative ways to spread kindness at work? How has being kind helped you in your own career? Let us know in the comments below!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.