At Ghost Blog Writers we’re a remote team.
I’m in Wisconsin. Lindy is in Australia. The writers are in many other locations.
We communicate a lot via email. I love email. But one aspect of communication that can definitely get lost in text is kindness. It’s easy to write a short response and have it come across as mean.
And even in the traditional business world, where people interact with each other everyday, I also see some waning kindness. Maybe it’s always been that way. Maybe Steve Jobs didn’t help matters.
Not just for those you treat with kindness, but also for yourself.
So let’s say that you’re open to treating others with more kindness.
Here are some ways to put the intention into practice…
I’m a big believer in emojis. I probably overuse the happy face emoji or smiley emoji or whatever it’s called. But I’ve found that it adds to the conversation. Especially in email.
Now, you can’t say something snarky in an email or text and expect the smiley emoji to make it alright. In fact, that might come off as snark or sarcasm.
But when you’re genuinely happy and you write something happy don’t be afraid to use the smiley.
2. Say, “Thank You”
We don’t say it enough. We tend to expect that others know that we are thankful for what they do. We expect that those closest to us already know. Our family and friends. Our workers.
Make time to say thanks to people. Especially those close to you. For big things and for little things.
3. Ask Questions
Pay attention the next time you’re in a conversation. A lot of people will talk about themselves. They’ll come to you wanting to tell you something. They’ll listen to your story then go right into their own story.
Not many people ask questions these days. But that’s an opportunity for you to come off as a really kind person by being the one that gets engaged and interested by asking questions.
I had a great boss some time ago that would go around the office every month or so stopping into each room and just asking questions of employees. Not business critical questions, but questions about the employee, their lives and their work.
4. Offer Positive Feedback
I have to really watch this one in the blogging world. So often a blogger will write 1,000 great words and the client will have them change one section that’s maybe 100 words.
That’s 90% great. 10% that needs work. Not even that it was bad, but just that it needs changing.
But it comes across as a bit negative. One time is fine. Two times is fine. Hundreds of times…well, it adds up.
Positive feedback is very important. People learn from positive feedback. Help them out by offering more of it.
5. Pick Up Litter
I try to do this one. I liked watching the show Longmire on Netflix. He was always picking up litter on the side of the road, on the sidewalk and while indoors. The bathroom is a big place where you often see paper towel on the floor by the trash can.
Help keep things clean. People like clean things.
6. Take Someone Out
Do you remember a time when your boss took you out to lunch? If it’s happened I bet you remember just about every detail. It probably made you feel really good.
Moments like that really stand out to people. If you’re looking to get closer to someone, even a coworker or boss or whatever, offer to take them out to lunch or out to coffee. Treat them. Then get to know them. Ask questions. Provide them with positive feedback.
7. Expect Good Things
Life can make us cynical. Bad things happen. Not all the time, but the older we get we tend to add up all the bad things that have happened in our lives. It’s just like with negative feedback. One or two instances don’t hurt, but the cumulative does.
So we have to fight against seeing the world as a bad place and people as having bad intentions. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Expect good things to happen and for people to be great.
8. Challenge People
We often get in our own ways when it comes to our own success. We put barriers on ourselves. One of the best things bosses can do is to challenge those around them. Vince Lombardi was a great coach for the Green Bay Packers and one common thing that his players said was that he inspired them to believe that they could be great…even when they didn’t believe it themselves. He inspired them.
Talk about the ultimate kindness.
9. Take The Blame
If you’re the boss and an employee screws up with a client step in and take the blame. Then work on resolving the issue behind closed doors. This can really make an impact with an employee. Most will work extra hard to make sure that they learn from the mistake and that they do a good job for themselves and for you.
I know it seems simple and dumb, but I’ve been thinking about the little things that I’ve heard others say when they’ve complained about their bosses. One thing that frequently came up was how cold the bosses could be. For example, one friend of mine said that every other day he would see the big boss in the break room or in the hall. My friend would smile and nod. The boss would just stay cold. No reaction. That leaves an impact on people. Not a good one.
There are big time benefits to acting kind. I think the legend of Steve Jobs has led this generation down the path to being cold and demanding and out of control. But many successful people throughout history have been kind. They haven’t been pushovers, but they have been kind.
Hopefully you see the benefits and then look to try out a few of the tips above. I know I’ll be looking to try to be kind more often than not.