Many people believe you have to be tough to be a boss.
But can you really keep your employees performing at their best by walking all over them and creating an atmosphere of fear? Studies suggest that quite the opposite may be true, and that people are actually more productive when their boss is kind.
Benefits of encouraging kindness at work
Here are some of the things that might happen if we all practiced more kindness at work right now:
Positivity levels would rise
Practicing kindness can make you happier and more positive because it helps release feel-good chemicals in the brain called dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin. If employers and employees are more positive, the workplace becomes somewhere everyone wants to be, rather than a place they have to go every day to earn money.
Experts have also suggested that being more positive can make people more creative.
Kindness is contagious, especially when practiced by those in authority, as research suggests people are particularly likely to emulate the actions of their leaders. If a manager shows kindness to an employee, that employee may go on to be kind to a co-worker - and so on. This ripple effect can help to build more meaningful connections between everyone in the workplace.
A respectful work environment makes employees more likely to feel motivated, enthusiastic, and more satisfied with their jobs.
How to show kindness
So if you are an employer or manager, what exactly does it mean to show kindness? And how can you be kind without losing your position as a respected authority figure?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Regularly praise good work but make your team aware about the standards you expect from them
- Support staff who are struggling with kindness and compassion and be quick to offer your help - but don't constantly check on your workers' progress or keep looking over their shoulders
- Put emphasis on boosting the morale and confidence of your team - but also hold individuals accountable when you have to
- Listen to your employers' ideas and suggestions - but be honest with them when their input is impractical or unachievable
- Focus more on solving problems than blaming individuals for mistakes - but never shy away from difficult conversations when necessary
By demonstrating kindness rather than ruthlessness you'll also be a great role model for your employees. Leading by example each and every day is an ideal way of inspiring your staff to emulate your behaviour.
How CABA can help
If you're an ICAEW member, ACA student, ICAEW staff member or are a member of their families, our free career development support can help you achieve your goals.