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  • Amy Maddison

Kindness practice

Ideas to kickstart your individual kindness practices at work.

By Liz Ramsay

No one wants to live with strain and unpleasantness in their workplace. Perhaps you’re ready to create a kindlier environment for yourself and your colleagues. And you’re looking for ideas.

Search Google using ‘kindness-in-the-workplace-activities’ and you’ll get ample results, evidence that it’s growing and important topic.

However, if you don’t have time to read, shift and select ideas from the internet, take advantage of those we’ve collected, collated and organised for you below.

Too much information + too many choices = indecision + inertia

Our collated list is deliberately non-exhaustive (pardon the pun!) because we want to make it as easy as possible for you to get started, and as difficult as possible for you to delay.

And don’t be dismayed by the seeming simplicity of some items on the list. Even small changes can spark a positive and larger impact.

For convenience, the list is divided into 3 key aspects of kindness identified by author Shaunti Feldhahn in her book The Kindness Challenge. These aspects are:

01 look for and emphasise the positive

02 perform actions that matter to someone else

03 avoid the negative

Choose one idea you feel comfortable with, and put it into practice for a period of time before you add another. If you’d like help on how to do that, click here for the 4 simple steps.

While there’s no fixed order, you may find the items towards the top of each list are easier-to-do.

01 look for and emphasise the positive

take in the good - feel the warmth of a smile, the taste of your morning coffee ...

give someone the benefit of the doubt

praise someone for a job well done - no one can get too many compliments

put sticky notes with positive sentiments on mirrors in the bathrooms or a notice board

relay an overheard compliment

compliment someone in front of others

make a mental list each day of 2-3 things you enjoyed about your work and colleagues

smile when you feel like scowling - challenging, just try!

be constructive and kind if you need to critique someone’s efforts

02 perform actions that matter to others

as you walk around your workplace, say hello and smile at people you don’t yet know

hold the door/lift open for people behind you

learn and use the names of the person at the front desk, the cleaner, the security guard

help those who look lost - give them a smile and directions as hospital wayfinding can be tricky

ask someone how they are and really listen to their answer

make sure every person in a group conversation feels included

offer to help a coworker with a difficult work activity or situation

support a new colleague who seems to be floundering

stop by a new colleague’s work area to say good morning and at night to say goodbye

introduce a colleague to a contact in your professional network

share a useful article you’ve found on a work topic

be a visible supporter for someone else’s idea or project

03 avoid the negative

simply not saying anything negative can be an act of kindness

put your phone away, yes away

don't write the angry email you're tempted to send

if you’re upset, pause and breathe deeply before you reply

don't interrupt when someone else is speaking - yep, it’s surprisingly difficult to master

when you hear that discouraging voice in your head, remember to also be kind to yourself

discourage others from spreading a rumour about someone

when others are gossiping about someone, be the one to jump in with something positive

let go of a grudge ... and feel the wonderful release of physical and mental tension

be nice to someone you dislike ... oooh, try just once ... then try again

admit when you’re in the wrong - it helps other people feel better about their mistakes!

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