Creating a culture of compassion in the workplace is where many successful companies are placing their attention today, and rightfully so. Researchers have cited studies that point to the power of a kinder workplace as having profound effects on morale, productivity and, ultimately, the financial bottom line.
Compassion involves an authentic desire to help others, and having a positive effect on others elicits a positive emotional response. When we treat ourselves and others compassionately, we tend to come together in a contributory manner that raises the group to greater heights as a whole. With this, bonds are formed, trust is established, and a willingness to collaborate on projects and shared visions becomes the driving force behind our intentions.
When people come together in a supportive environment, and they feel safe from competition, there is less fear of failure, which results in greater fortitude. These are helpful qualities to have in any work environment.
Help bring more compassion to your workplace with these 10 tips.
1. Offer guidance to a co-worker
You know how stressful it can feel to hit a roadblock on a particular project. If you see a colleague struggling in an area where you have strength, offer your knowledge or assistance. Share a useful tool or tip from your bag of tricks that may help them along.
2. Get to know your colleagues
People love to feel like they're part of a team and they have a connection with others. Take the time to introduce yourself to someone you may not know well in the workplace. Ask them questions about themselves, their families, and what they enjoy doing in their off time. Greet them regularly and be sure to use their name often when speaking with them. This makes people feel seen and heard.
3. Lend a hand to someone who is under a tight deadline
If you see a fellow co-worker under pressure and carrying a heavy load, offer to lend them a hand. Ask if they could use some help or what you can take off their plate to ease the strain. Showing that you genuinely care and want to help others not only inspires them but makes them feel happy to work for (or with) you.
4. Cultivate a collaborative environment
Encourage brainstorms and mastermind meetings. Invite the whole team to share in the organization's vision and goals, and help create action steps needed to achieve them. An environment where everyone can collaborate by sharing their ideas and offering creative solutions is one that thrives.
5. Acknowledge employees' strengths and positive attributes in front of others
Edifying someone in the presence of others is one of the best ways to boost morale. Think back to a time when someone applauded you in front of a group of your peers and how valued it made you feel. See where you can find opportunities to acknowledge people for their strengths and celebrate their wins with them.
6. Be an example of a compassionate leader
The best leaders are those who lead from the heart, those who have the ability to inspire others through kindness, flexibility, support, and empowerment. When you treat people with compassion they never forget and, as a result, you develop people who want to work for you because you care.
7. Check the motivation behind your decisions, your words, and your behavior
Always check in with your thoughts before they become words or actions to be sure your motivation is pure. If you catch yourself about to say or do something that isn't coming from a place of integrity, or if it's untrue, unkind, or unnecessary, think before you act. Every word and action generates a reaction. Be sure your ripple effect is positive and one that promotes a culture of compassion.
8. Organize team-building activities
Take the lead, or ask for a volunteer, to set up monthly or quarterly team building activities for employees. It can be anything from putting together softball teams to organizing a community clean up or volunteering with an organization to feed the homeless. Ask employees to submit ideas and suggestions for creative and fun team-building exercises to make everyone feel included.
9. Encourage employees to practice conscious communication
Foster an atmosphere of conscious communication among employees and encourage people to engage in an open dialogue with one another. Co-workers who openly talk and share their thoughts and feelings with each other through truthful and heartfelt expression are more likely to work through challenges together. Teach employees how to give feedback in a way that inspires motivation for improvement rather than making someone feel wrong. Guide people to ask sincere questions and listen to one another with interest.
10. Design a compassion challenge to inspire daily acts of kindness
Make kindness fun. Create an in-office compassion challenge (e.g. "30 Days of Kindness") and get your team pumped up to do all of the above (and more) on a daily basis. Have a board or chart where everyone can see and feel the progress being made and consider awarding a grand prize to the person who performed the highest.
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." —Aesop