I am currently reading and enjoying, Dr Danny Penman’s book: Mindfulness for Creativity – Adapt, Create and Thrive in a frantic world. Haven’t quite finished it yet, but one meditation has already caught my eye, one related to resilience and the idea of bringing loving kindness not just to those close to you, but extending it to include those people who you might be struggling with either professionally or personally.
Thinking back over my own career, there were times when I certainly wouldn’t have entertained the notion of bringing ‘loving kindness’ to some of the people I worked with. But an older and hopefully, wiser Janice, can now see what a difference it might have made to my perspective and energy at the time.
It also has me wondering, ‘how much kindness’ is there out there in the workplace or is it always, ‘dog eat dog’? What would our workplaces be like if we adopted this approach, particularly towards our more ‘difficult’ colleagues?
How might things be different if we regularly practiced this and sent out those ‘loving vibes’?
I still remember, particularly in the early stages of my career, acts of kindness shown to me by work colleagues, which often took me completely by surprise.
Some of the things I remember include:
- Regularly being invited to share Sunday lunches with a work colleague and his family
- My head pulling a few strings to get me invited to interview at the FE college, she felt I would stand a better chance of successfully completing the A’ levels I had chosen.
- Being offered a second chance after a poor job appraisal, I would have really, struggled had I lost this job.
- The continual encouragement of my manager as I struggled to hit my sales targets, week after week.
- The metal shop manager after my error in ordering the wrong size metal tubes, I presented him with a problem which he could rectify but it was done with kindness and care so that 30 years later I still remember him with affection.
More generally, I think kindness in the workplace might well show itself in:
The colleagues who pick up the slack, when another colleague is struggling, the ones who ‘roll up their sleeves’ and get ‘stuck in’.
Not just passing by, when it is clear someone is struggling.
The interviewer who might add the additional prompt when it becomes clear that a candidate is struggling to respond.
The people who graciously and generously share their knowledge and expertise, ‘give it away!’ as I was advised to do at a local networking event. Thank you, Steve and Jez, from Ask Me Anything Digital.
The manager, delivering a tough message with care and compassion, have often thought that there are at least two parts to a message. The content itself and the way it is delivered. Have had this conversation countless times in the past, when managers have had to deliver ‘tough messages’ and recognise the importance of allowing enough time and space for the recipient to respond.
Taking the time to gently and privately, discuss hygiene issues with a staff member, particularly if others are noticing.
Colleagues, asking the question, Can I help you with anything? Is the one question that could make everyone at work, happy. Read Wanda Thibodeaux’s article here, to find out more.
So, there you have it, until next time.