By Liz Ramsay
4 simple steps to personal kindness practice in the workplace
It is a truth universally acknowledged that workplace kindness has enormous benefits - to staff at all organisational levels, patients, their friends and families. And the greatest benefits are realised when many individuals take responsibility for kindness, and practice it with intention.
“With intention” may sound unusual, because most of us would like to think we are kindly in a naturally arising way. But working in a busy, pressured and sometimes chaotic environment, it’s easy to overlook the many opportunities for daily doses of kindness, for ourselves and in our interaction with others.
So how can you get started, keep going, and make a habit of intentional kindness?
Try these 4 simple steps:
These steps and the information that follows are perfectly suited to individuals who want to take action to make a difference. You don’t need a team or formal event to successfully put them into practice. Let’s look at each step in a bit more detail.
Select your kindness idea
Maybe you’re clear about what you’d like to try. Perhaps you have too many ideas, or too few. If you’re feeling stuck, select an idea here https://www.gatheringofkindness.org/blog/kindness-practice from our starter list. Choose something that’s easy-to-do, requires little effort and is low risk.
Put your idea into action
Here are some suggestions to get you going:
Start small. Focus on just one idea at a time.
Incorporate your chosen idea into an existing daily activity, wherever possible, to save time.
Use a reminder system to trigger putting your idea into action. The When / I will format is useful here - when this occurs, I will do / say / think this. Here are a couple of examples to clarify:
And remember: “when you can't do it all, do something small.” - James Clear
Observe what happens
Experiment with your idea for a while and observe what happens. For example:
How you feel while engaged in the kindness initiative, and afterwards?
If your initiative involves interaction with others, how do they respond?
Does the experience change the way you think, feel or act in the future?
Does it alter the behaviour of the other person / people?
Make a mental note of your experience. Better still, record these observations briefly, in any format.
Build your kindness ‘repertoire’
It can be useful to experiment with one idea, see how it goes and how you might improve on the practice. Then choose another idea to action. And repeat.
Some of your kindness initiatives are likely to be one-off or sporadic. For example, buying coffee for someone you don’t know who is in the queue behind you in the café. And if the initiatives occur in response to someone else’s words or action, for example, if a colleague indulges in malicious gossip.
Others, particularly those you initiate, are typically suited to ongoing practice. Here I’m thinking of saying hello to people you don’t know when you enter the lift, smiling when you pass people on the stairs, or paying compliments. These are easily absorbed into daily interactions.
Before you know it, you’ve got a rock-solid repertoire of personal kindness practices that are embedded in your daily work life. Just imagine if 10 other people build their repertoire, and another 10 people.
Participate in the growing community that is intent on humanising healthcare.
Share your successes as well as your false starts. Send a brief account of the ideas you’ve put into action to https://www.gatheringofkindness.org/contact .