Kindness is such a fluffy idea, right? What has kindness got to do with business?
Actually, kindness has got a lot to do with business because business needs a productive workforce — and a productive workforce needs good mental health. And ask yourself this; what is the best way to achieve a productive workforce? Is it to shout and bully or praise?
Maybe we all need bullying from time to time, but kindness does come naturally to us, most of the time; it is just that for many of us, walking through that office door means we can change personas — out goes kindness, and we wear a mask of impassiveness.
On November 16th & 17th at the ExCeL Centre London, an illustrious team of experts will discuss whether kindness is profitable and the risk of not being kind. See #RISK for more information.
Jonathan Hook talks about our lizard brain and delves deep into the motivations that make us who we are and the physiology and neurons that make us tick.
Peter Abrahamsen, counsellor, motivation and confidence coach, says: “The fact that we even ask that question shows something is very wrong in the workplace.”
He adds: “Nobody likes being bullied, treated with unkindness, or being ignored. One of our deepest cravings as human beings is attention, and when we get to work and find ourselves just being a number on the payroll and nothing else, it affects our mental health badly. Our productivity decreases, our sick days increase, and our error rate is scary and costly.
“That we talk about work-life balance indicates that life somehow stops when we go to work. Small wonder people can spend their work day daydreaming rather than focusing on their work. However, work is such a big part of life that we must ensure it is an experience we want to repeat day after day.
“Kindness is not a weakness, and compassion does not erode your authority.
“Kindness costs nothing, needs to be practised daily by everybody, and will lead to a strong and profitable organisation.”
Jonathan Hook says: “Kindness requires two things: empathy and altruism. Empathy is feeling what another is feeling, and altruism is the behavioural response to that feeling. Humans are a social species and a very successful one, too, and one of the core drivers of that is the pro-social loop of empathy and altruism. “
And Sylvia Bruce, mental health consultant, integrative counsellor, and former director at HSBC, adds: “A happy crew is a productive crew.”
She adds, “this is a mantra adopted from my first-ever boss. Business needs its people to be at their realistic best, to be happy, whatever that means for them, in short, to be okay. Kindness, backed by neuroscience, plays a significant role in whether someone is okay or not.
“Without people being okay, fully functioning, performance, productivity, creativity, innovation and so much more suffers, exposing a business to risk on many levels including reputation, brand, profitability and bottom line.
“Business is at risk if its people are not okay, so it’s a risky business not being kind!”
And returning to Jonathan Hook, he is from CHX, a company which says “feelings matter, that mood is important.”
He says: “When we feel someone needs resources (empathy), we instinctively respond by giving resources (altruism), and both parties are rewarded biologically and feel better. Both parties also enhance their survival chances as the survival of the individual is improved by the survival of the group, and the survival of the group is enhanced by the survival of the individual.
“It’s very easy to say we are hardwired to be kind. The biological reality is that our capacity for empathy and altruism is gene-based; however, the specific skills of being empathic and altruistic are neuron based - that is learned. It is a behavioural skill that needs role modelling, practising and praising.”