When it comes to career success and professional aspirations, kindness is often overlooked in favor of qualities like work ethic, tenacity and perseverance.
Many people falsely believe that being nice will hinder your career.
While being overly nice or passive can hold you back in certain situations, genuine kindness plays an integral role in the workplace and can be a valuable tool for your success.
The concept of ‘paying it forward’ may not seem important in the workplace.
But the significance of treating others with respect, compassion, tolerance and common decency should not be under-estimated.
These actions provide numerous benefits in social situations and in the workplace – not only for the recipient, but also for you.
Let’s start with a definition of kindness…
“The quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.”
From interpersonal connections to professional opportunities, here are 6 ways that being kind can lead to career success.
1. Being Kind Improves Networking Opportunities
“It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.”
You’ve probably heard this multiple times, but this is actually sound advice. When it comes to finding job leads, getting a promotion or raise, or being selected for a role over other qualified candidates, your connections can make a big difference.
Pay close attention to the way you treat people, regardless of if they’re your customers, co-workers or supervisors.
Remember, the first impression can be the last impression and your reputation stays with you as you climb the corporate ladder.
Courteous and charitable behaviors produce a magnetic effect that other people are inherently drawn to. Use this influential force to your benefit when making professional connections, interacting with customers, growing a client base, working with customers or establishing your presence on the job market.
Besides making a positive first impression, you can also increase the chances of potential customers, employers and business contacts remembering your name in the future.
2. Being Kind Maximizes Collaborative Success
No matter which industry you’re in, you need to be able to work with others.
You don’t have to necessary like everyone you work with, but you have to find a way to get along well enough to get the job done.
“You need a team around you, at work, at home, and in your personal and professional development,” says Dustin McKissen Inc.Columnist and Linkedin Top Voice.
“And the fastest way to get someone on your team is to do something kind for them. And not only is kindness a good way to get people on your team, it’s also a show of strength and leadership that inspires others.”
When you earn a reputation for treating others with respect, you become a valuable asset in teamwork situations. Your colleagues and supervisors are more inclined to choose to work with someone who they enjoy interacting with.
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Always try to acknowledges your co-workers skill sets, opinions and efforts, and create an understanding of mutual respect.
This gives you an advantage with group projects or assignments and makes you more likely to be selected for new opportunities or special projects.
When you’re a team player at work, you make everyone around you better and you set yourself apart as an important contributing member of the organization.
3. Being Kind Creates a Ripple Effect
Whether you work at a start-up, a small company or a big business, most offices have a number of people in a limited space. This means that both good and bad moods can easily permeate throughout the office and shift the mood of the entire team.
Don’t be the person who comes to work and brings others down. Think of how much time you spend at work, why not create a more positive, upbeat environment for yourself and your co-workers?
When you’re kind to others, it creates a ripple effect and inspires others to act in the same way.
A study in the Proceedings of Natural Sciences shows that generous behavior is actually contagious. When you’re kind to others or do something nice for someone else, it creates a ripple effect which inspires others to act in a similar way.
While your CEO or supervisor can and should promote this behavior from the top down, why not take it upon yourself to be a positive influence in the workplace?
In addition to making others feel better, it will help you feel more positive and at ease at work, which can make your day-to-day tasks seem less daunting and monotonous.
4. Being Kind Counteracts High-Stress Deadlines
According to research conducted at Yale and UCLA, actions which encourage altruism can neutralize environments of tension or anxiety.
This is an effective tool when you have tight deadlines, corporate meetings and seminars, or unexpected obligations in the office.
Scientific studies show that humans are wired for kindness, but it can be easy to lose sight of how we treat each other in times of stress. While it may take more effort to practice this behavior during stressful situations, it’s especially crucial during these times.
Your kindness can not only counteract anxiety and stress, it can also boost morale and create an atmosphere of enhanced positivity in the office.
5. Being Kind Prompts Attention from Superiors
When it comes to career advancement, it’s not all about the numbers.
Yes, results are very important, but there are also intangible qualities that supervisors and managers look for.
Employees with a proven track record of consideration in the workplace demonstrate their aptitude for leading, communicating, motivating and forging relationships with their peers.
“Research shows that a positive, cheerful person is more likely to be paid more and promoted faster,” according to Fast Company.
“It may be easy to keep a good attitude when all is well, but when the chips are down, a person’s true character usually shows.”
When a promotion or opening in another department becomes available, employers take these qualities into consideration. Sometimes, personality traits can give you an edge over a coworker with similar performance metrics.
So ensuring that your attitude reflects kindness to each member of the team could accelerate your position and impact within the company.
6. Being Kind Increases Productivity and Efficiency
Interacting with your co-workers in a personable manner builds a rapport which goes beyond the dividing walls of each cubicle and brings solidarity to the entire operation.
This mutual understanding of shared goals and partnerships can boost performance and generate more output, growth and profit.
“Kindness in the workplace has sometimes been perceived as weakness,” according to Cornerstone Dynamics.
“But top management thinkers are beginning to tout it as an overlooked tool for productivity—and scientific evidence supports their view. It seems that a culture of caring and compassion can build employee engagement, reduce staff downtime and even keep us all healthier!”
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There is a noticeable shift in work ethic when there is team continuity and when people feel that they’re valued and important.
Believe it or not, kindness is a lesser-known catalyst for positivity, success and career growth.
When you incorporate kindness and compassion into your daily routine, it affects positive change, for you and for your co-workers.
So don’t forget to look for ways to promote kindness in the workplace, or as the saying goes, throw kindness around like confetti!
To help give you the inspiration to increase your kindness at work, here are some inspirational kindness quotes:
For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.
~ Audrey Hepburn
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
~ Mark Twain
A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.
~ William Arthur Ward
My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.
~ Dalai Lama
Here are the values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.
~ Ellen DeGeneres
Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca
We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that.
~ Ellen DeGeneres
A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.
~ John Ruskin
A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.
~ Saint Basil
You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.
~ Albert Schweitzer
Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.
~ Og Mandino
Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.
~ Lao Tzu
Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.
~ George Sand
Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.
~ Dennis Prager
Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.
~ Samuel Johnson
The words of kindness are more healing to a drooping heart than balm or honey.
~ Sarah Fielding
This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
~ Dalai Lama
I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.
~ Khalil Gibran
No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.
~ Emma Goldman
Kindness and faithfulness keep a king safe, through kindness his throne is made secure.
~ King Solomon
I think true success is intrinsic… It’s love. It’s kindness. It’s community.
~ Tom Shadyac
Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.
~ Princess Diana
Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.
~ Barbara de Angelis
Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.
~ Scott Adams
One who is kind is sympathetic and gentle with others. He is considerate of others’ feelings and courteous in his behavior. He has a helpful nature. Kindness pardons others’ weaknesses and faults. Kindness is extended to all — to the aged and the young, to animals, to those low of station as well as the high.
~ Ezra Taft Benson
There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.
~ Nathaniel Branden
The level of our success is limited only by our imagination and no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.
Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Because that’s what kindness is. It’s not doing something for someone else because they can’t, but because you can.
~ Andrew Iskander
You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force.
~ Publilius Syrus
Always be a little kinder than necessary.
~ James M. Barrie
Transparency, honesty, kindness, good stewardship, even humor, work in businesses at all times.
~ John Gerzema
Kind people are the best kind of people.
Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.
~ Theodore Isaac Rubin
Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.
~ Henry James
A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.
~ Amelia Earhart
How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it!
~ George Elliston
One who knows how to show and to accept kindness will be a friend better than any possession.
He that has done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.
~ Benjamin Franklin
Although we have referenced the word ‘kindness’ throughout this article, you can also apply the same principles to any of the following synonyms for kindness:
- Good will