Everyone needs kindness, especially the people that we spend 8-10 hours of our days working with. A little reminder of our shared humanity and togetherness can go a long way.
Here are a few ideas to start making your office a kinder place to live and be:
1. Start small
We often forget that everything good started small and almost always with one person. While the idea of taking on an entire work culture or environment can feel overwhelming, one kind word or an encouraging post-it note left on a copier may not. Even starting your kind acts in secret can be exhilarating and so much fun. Go guerrilla on your workplace!
2. Be authentic
In a world of CYA and old walls of self-protection built, the corporate world feels like the last place you should try to be your whole self. I am not suggesting we all start taking naps after lunch (although that would be fantastic!) or start dropping your political views around the water cooler, but we are all craving a safer space to work together. Admitting mistakes, going directly to the source of conflicts and sharing honest, sincere thoughts with an open mind in a smaller circle lay the groundwork for others to do the same in a larger one.
3. Choose humor
This one is for every over thinker and type A in the bunch, and there are a lot of us. There are times when we can take a situation, our work, and ourselves just way too seriously. When things feel thick and you get stuck, choose humor. Laugh about how bad a situation may be. Let humor shift your perspective for a hot minute so you can come back with a fresh and lighter view. When we are old, we will wish we had stewed less, laughed more, and slept more at night.
4. Listen, listen, then listen some more
One of our most basic human needs is first to be heard and then understood. The amazing part is, we often only need to have someone listen to feel understood. When we actively listen (i.e. not zone out) we create new opportunities to connect in ways we sometimes may not have imagined. This may be the most simple and effective tool we have to open up a dialogue and build bridges.
5. Take on the big dog
We all have one place, one department or one person we believe is not capable of being kind. It is the area we avoid at all costs but is actually in the greatest need. So here’s the challenge, go there. Leave a small bit of kindness in the very place you are sure it does not exist, because then it will. Even a small offering can begin the work of shifting the energy. Change will never happen unless one person believes it is possible in the first place.