The challenges that every workplace has faced this year make it difficult to keep employee morale high. Kindness is the desire to do good for the well-being of others without expecting something in return. Employees are in the search of kind, supportive managers to lead them through a global pandemic, to keep motivating them to reach professional goals and to reassure them. When employees feel good, supported and know that guidance and help is right by when needed, they can work efficiently.
1. Create strong relationships to increase trust and well-being
There is a direct link between the influence of kindness on the trust between managers and their subordinates. Managers who take it upon themselves to truly care and to think about what is best for their employees create the strongest work relationships. These work relationships are essential for employee health, happiness and fulfilment. A relationship built on trust opens the pathway for open and honest communication, ability to grow through constructive criticism and the freedom to actually enjoy being at work and feeling supported. Asking about an employee’s day, and truly listening to them, is an easy start to acting kind. A manager can initiate kindness by hosting team building activities and even encouraging “sharing circles” within the team. Managers should make it a priority to remember details about conversations they have had with the employees, to portray the extent of wanting to be there for their employees.
2. Create a supportive atmosphere
Moreover, happy employees don’t look for changing their company and are more motivated to get their work done. A high turnover rate damages a company in the long-run since it can result in a low employee morale, which damages efficiency and commitment in work projects. A kind manager can create a relaxed atmosphere where employees can take on new challenges, responsibilities and develop themselves since they have the courage to possibly fail. Failing, or not reaching a specific goal, in the front of a kind manager won’t cause extra stress on the employee, since they are aware it’s a learning experience. In a company where kind acts aren’t encouraged, employees may feel negative emotions that will prohibit them from being as productive as they could in a positive atmosphere. A kind manager will organise various team activities, like volunteering together for a day or going to a bowling game, and ensure the upkeep of a positive atmosphere. Managers have a direct responsibility towards making sure their employees feel supported and cared for in the workplace, most of all during the COVID-19 crisis where all employees desire for strong leadership. The simple action of hosting a monthly team call, while employees might be confined at home, or avoiding going to places to stay protected, already boosts the positive atmosphere. This indicates the manager’s desire to stay connected with their team and to be able to still have fun conversations together amid the global pandemic.
3. Lead positive company culture
Managers represent a company and the company culture and beliefs. They can act for the long-term interests of their company by practicing kindness in the workplace. Kindness can be used as a management tool that aids in creating a positive company culture. In order to increase productivity of employees, the manager is responsible for setting a tone of the company rules. These “rules”, no matter if they are written on a company values brochure or not, are in place to avoid the abuse of staff time and availability as well as to combat stress. A manager sets the example of what is accepted, and what isn’t. An example of an abuse of employees is setting meetings outside of working hours, ignoring the need for employee training when necessary or lacking respect towards individuals. Kind actions are inherently courteous, respectful and positive. These acts will ensure that managers take their employee wellbeing seriously, and practice open communication to ensure that stress is reduced. A manager should be aware of what they demand from their employees, and should always stay within the constraints of what is appropriate and what is too much. For instance, expecting an employee to be available to answer calls on their day off is not an appropriate expectation. Through this kind company culture, employees can wind down and relax in their free time, fully enjoy the activities they choose to do outside of the workplace and show up to work well-rested and newly motivated.
Managers need to recognise the importance and utility of kindness in their day-to-day interactions with employees. Kind actions don’t require an enormous effort, just a caring thought and some simple actions. Kindness is simple to integrate into the workplace, and starts with caring managers who show the example to all others. Efficiency, greater productivity and less wasted work time due to demotivation or disillusion can be avoided through benevolent actions.
A supportive workplace is beneficial in the long-run and can even boost creativity, when the fear of failure is erased.