?”Envy (which we looked at in the last post) causes us to feel terrible when someone else is happy; kindness causes us to rejoice at the achievements of others. ?Envy seeks to pull people down; kindness builds people up,” (p.107)
As a Christ-follower, our desire and motivation to demonstrate kindness in the workplace must be rooted in the Gospel. ?Kindness cannot be legislated or commanded. ?Authentic kindness comes as a result of understanding and appreciating the kindness that God has shown to us in Jesus: ?“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:2)
What might kindness look like in the workplace? ?Here’s some suggestions from Stevens and Ung:
- Changed attitudes: Taking the initiative in demonstrating kindness rather than waiting for others to take the first step; listening attentively and being sensitive to unspoken needs; actively and intentionally practicing ‘random acts of kindness’; celebrating the achievements, big or small, of fellow workers rather than looking for recognition of our own endeavours. ?
- Reaching out to subordinates: Taking the opportunity to mentor younger members of staff or looking after a newcomer to the workplace/organisation; befriending the person who is shy; sharing and teaching new skills; recognise and greet people from all levels of the organisation; bringing some morning tea to share; remember birthdays etc. ? Listen to this video for an inspirational story of a doctor who lived and breathed kindness in the workplace (Humanizing Work Through Leadership – Nancy Ortberg)
- Reaching out to peers and superiors: Listen with compassion; send thank you notes and expressions of appreciation; offer to assist with a task or project for someone with a heavy workload or who is struggling with challenges from outside the workplace; express appreciation to your supervisors; maintain a compassionate attitude towards the unreasonable boss.
- Reaching out to people outside the organisation: Mobilise workmates and friends to support a worthy cause (e.g. my workplace was a strong supporter of the Red Cross Blood Bank); resisting the temptation to brush off a difficult customer;?help people to maintain a work/life balance so that there is time to express kindness to loved ones – remember, we don’t spend time with the ones we love, we waste time with them!
My own experience is that when I start to feel like a victim, when I start to think or feel that I am the only one who is pulling their weight, it’s a sure sign that I have lost perspective. ?I have forgotten who I am in Christ and the kindness God has shown to me, ?And I have perhaps forgotten to be a little kind to myself in terms of rest and refreshment.
Next time: Neighbor-love ? Experiencing the ability to meet the needs of others and contribute to their well-being (Chapter 23)
Stevens, R. P., and Ung, A. (2010).?Taking Your Soul to Work: overcoming the nine deadly sins of the workplace.??Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eerdmans