“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change. Kindness that catches us by surprise brings out the best in our nature” Bob Kerrey
I had the privilege of hearing Thomas Kelly’s mum, Kathy Kelly, present live at a conference I attended last week. A captivating presenter, she stood in front of a large room of strangers and shared her story of immense loss, grief and pain due to the loss of her two sons. The loss on both accounts were triggered by the heartbreaking and senseless actions of other strangers. This has led to her lobbying, advocating for safer laws and increasing awareness about Violence, Alcohol, Bullying, Suicide and Kindness . She has also created two very important organisations:
– The Thomas Kelly foundation, raising awareness around reducing violence (http://thomaskellyyouthfoundation.org.au/)
– The second son Stuart foundation, The Stay Kind Foundation raising awareness on suicide and being kind. http://staykind.org.au/
I was naturally extremely saddened at the horrific experiences this mother had to endure and what was even more powerful was the sense of hope that Kathy shared around change being possible and her inner drive to increase awareness and support that will ultimately extend into all our communities.
My thoughts with this extended to my many experiences of supporting organisations with “people problems” eventuating often to unacceptable workplace behaviours around bullying, harassment, victimisation and derogatory behaviours. I’ve had cases including one where a person was intentionally excluded and surrounded by group mentality of targeting them through an incessant targeted campaign. And another which involved threats of physical violence. This is happening right now, and often, in our workplaces. When does it end?
We have all seen, heard or even experienced ourselves some form of this behaviour and aggression. It happens in the school yard, in the classroom, online more excessively everyday and it also happens in our workplaces. Researcher Danny Hills published a study in 2012 outlining “workplace aggression is a worldwide concern that has been linked to impaired physical and mental health.”
Take a second and think about your work life experiences – can you think of an example? In many instances we are talking about grown adults, some that may go home to families to subsequently become role models to their children. When does it end?
When does the cycle end?
If you observe some of this negative, unprofessional conduct occurring, do you sit back and pretend its not going on or do you decide to do something?
The fact that I am able to identify example after example of this happening in our workplaces deeply concerns me. This happens to our kids day by day and we are trying everything to stamp it out and keep them safe. It’s time to take the same stance in our workplaces and send the message of inclusion and kindness.
Being kind is not hard.
Being acknowledging of someone other than ourselves is not hard.
Study upon study prove the significant positive impacts of practicing kindness.
According to research highlighted by The Honey Bee Foundation, “When you are grateful and practicing random acts of kindness… the result is inner calm, clarity of thinking and a heart full of love.”
Physiological benefits of kindness include:
o Strengthened immune system
o Improved Cognitive Performance
o Increase in Energy
o Lower Heart Rate
o Balanced cortisol levels which result in less internal stress
o More likely to live a longer and more satisfied life
o Laughter and inner joy resulting in decreased stress hormones; lower blood pressure; diminished pain.
Think about your colleagues, their day to day experiences personally and professionally, the hours they invest at work. How can you make that person’s experience more fulfilling, safer, more fun.
“The simplest acts of kindness are far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Take a minute every day and think of how you can positively impact one person each day.
Pay it forward so we are no longer asking the question, when does it end?
Grow Up, Be Kind, It’s really not that hard