Kindness is not just the stuff of poetry and poets; it is also the stuff of sound business sense. You never know to whom you are being kind. Kindness to an unfortunate may result in, and indeed often has turned out, to be repaid 100 times. The twentieth-century French writer, André Gide, had a view of kindness, "True kindness presupposes the faculty of imagining as one's own the suffering and joys of others." What Gide refers to here is, in fact, sensitivity. If you are to succeed in business, you need sensitivity, and sensitivity can be developed. In fact, "Kindness can become its own motive." People who show kindness demonstrate strength of character; it is admired and it is contagious.

Importantly, kindness to your colleagues shows that you have confidence in your own ability, and shows that you have strength of character. Those around you will notice both of these and admire them. Both of these characteristics, strength of character and confidence, are qualifications for promotion.

Admiration is totally different from popularity in the workplace. Bosses prefer to promote those who people admire and are often suspicious of those who are merely popular. Often it is believed that there is an emotional expense in giving kindness. People often avoid giving kindness in the belief that it makes them feel emotionally drained. These people are mistaken. The truth is, as we have to learn everything else in life, we must learn about giving kindness. Giving in a truly profound way is wonderful. If you really give profoundly, you will feel it in your heart and you will see it reflected in the people around you.

Kindness requires patience, an appreciation of the importance of others, a certain diplomacy. Compassion and kindness may sound sentimental, but they actually lead to a deeper connection and rapport that create trust, a friendly atmosphere, and most importantly for business, an enjoyable synchronicity and harmony in the working environment. The people who are able to create such an environment and display these qualities are people whom others trust to become leaders in the business world and the community.

Leadership evolves out of expertise, ambition and luck, but true inspiration comes with a willingness to connect your own vulnerability with somebody else's. So do not pass up the opportunity to remain silent and caring if the need arises. This so-called "soft" management approach is the ability to make yourself open and sensitive to others' feelings. It takes courage to be quiet and listen to someone else's discomfort. This can feel strange within a working framework, but actually it forms a greater professional respect. The art of kindness is not just approaching a market challenge, but meeting the needs of each individual to find a resolution.

Kindness to those around you is important, but perhaps more important is kindness to yourself, the most difficult form of kindness to practice. Reward not only your success but also your effort. Kindness to yourself helps you deal with rejection. You may get disheartened, and self-kindness alleviates frustration brought on by an initial lack of success. Often, other people do not want you to succeed, so self-kindness is not only important, it is necessary. You cannot get it from others. Kindness to those who fail wins appreciation. Kindness to those who win when you fail brings respect. Kindness is a building block of a happy life. Kindness is born in consideration and love. Teach yourself to be considerate, mostly in small matters, and consideration for others in big matters will become second nature.

Kindness has its own rewards, for those who have succeeded in developing their instincts and sensitivity can physically experience the sensation of their own kindness around the area of their heart. The sensation is so memorable that it is astonishing. Yet we fear and resist that sensation, perhaps because we simply think that it will feel so good and then disappear, leaving us sad and disappointed, unhappy that this memorable feeling could come and go so easily.

As a sensation, kindness may frighten people. They are scared because they do not trust kindness in themselves or others. These people believe that there must be a catch in being kind. For them kindness is associated with weakness and brutal honesty, which they regard as an admirable quality but is actually unkindness. Often these people see themselves as "saying what they think."

More often, they do not take the simple precaution of thinking before their victims hear what they have to say. These types of people believe that you are being kind to them only because you want something from them. They are sad people trapped in a sad suspicious world incapable of coming to terms with even the first building block in the construction of happiness.

Conversely, kindness quite often comes from a totally unexpected source, a person whom you do not know well, and certainly did not expect to be kind to you. Even a total stranger can make an act of kindness to you spontaneously, just because they felt like giving more than was required. How wonderful you feel when a total stranger is kind to you; conversely, how wonderful you feel when you are kind to a total stranger. It is an amazing moment, sparked perhaps by an action that can be so small as to pass for good manners. The scale of the kindness does not matter. Kindness has a disproportionate effect on the well being of both the giver and the recipient.

Learn to enjoy receiving kindness, learn to enjoy being thanked. It will make the giver of the thanks glow and it may produce a second or two of shyness, so intimate that it will touch the other person deep down inside. Enjoy the acts of giving and receiving, for they are moments of true beauty. The least expected these moments are, the greater their beauty. How strange it is that we so often receive kindness from the most unexpected sources and unkindness from those who we would most expect to be kind. Kindness over time, however, accumulates into a pile in our psyche and helps us come to terms with times when people are rude or unkind.

There are no dangers in kindness. People say to each other that you can be too kind, but this is untrue. There is no downside to kindness; you cannot lose through practicing kindness.

By being kind you show strength and attract people. People will want to work with you. They will think of you as being fair and confident. Other people will know that because you are kind you are not likely to make judgements based on petty biases and the prejudices of other people. Other people who you work with will know that you are your own person and in their confidence you will find encouragement and feel better about yourself. Even if your kindness is rebuffed and not reciprocated, however shabby the treatment you receive in return, your own kindness will fortify your spirit, enhance your life, and lead you towards happiness. You can never be too kind. Kindness is not a sign of weakness. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said in a radio address on October 13, 1940, "Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fibre of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough."

more from beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad