Mindful Matter: Let Others Stand Under Your Umbrella - [website] Email Print
Published: 10th of Mar 2023 by: Shona Potgieter

"Kindness keeps us grounded and relatable to all people as we soar to the heights we are reaching for professionally and personally." - Adrienne Bankert

I had an experience recently that I would like to share. I had to go to Home Affairs... I'm sure we all just sighed collectively at the very thought of it.

Upon arrival it started to rain, the doors were still closed as they were (obviously) waiting for the system to come online post-loadshedding. So there I was, wildly unprepared I might add! I think I was probably standing there for 10 seconds, when the lady in front of me kindly pulled me closer to her with a smile, letting me stand under her umbrella. This was a complete stranger who, without a second thought, had shown me kindness. This kindness didn't just help me in the moment, no... The effects lasted throughout queuing, an additional 1 hour and 30 minutes of "system offline" once inside and the time waiting for my ticket number to be called... Her kindness had such a positive effect, that the usually horrid mood/mindset that comes along with having to go through the whole Home Affairs experience was instead replaced with patience, more tolerance and sharing smiles and quick chats with others while waiting. In fact, her kindness stayed with me so much that it inspired me to write this blog.

Being kind is a sort of superpower, one which has an immensely positive impact on those around us, and ourselves! When we think of being kind, it can be pretty self-explanatory... But there are so many different ways to express kindness, such as sharing your umbrella with someone when it rains, opening the door for someone or giving a compliment. But what could kindness look like in the workplace and what would the resulting effects be?

First let's address the importance of kindness at work. It is so easy to become caught up in our work, deadlines, daily stresses and the roles we fill in the workplace. Let's remember that we are human, we have good days and bad days... Days that make you feel like the sun is shining that extra bit brighter, while other days feel a little harder to smile through. Being kind can mean the difference between helping someone succeed and ensuring their failure. What do I mean by this?

Let's use the following example:

Harry and Sally work together. Harry has just recently been pulled onto a new project, one that is proving to be a bit of a learning curve for him. So, he is still figuring out some of the in's and out's of the new task at hand. Sally has been at this company far longer and is quite familiar with the systems and procedures associated with the project. There are two ways this can go...

Sally can choose to ignore Harry's struggle, keeping with the mindset that "he needs to figure it out, this will be how he learns to swim". Or, she could choose to help him, give him guidance when he needs it and help him learn in a supported environment.

What do you think the kinder approach is? And dare I ask, how would you want to be treated if you were in Harry's position?

Picture this...

Sally's knowledge and experience could well be her proverbial umbrella. She could choose to invite Harry to share her umbrella and in so doing shield him from the downpour of stress, unnecessary mistakes and struggle that he would face without it. This would also help him feel empowered and supported as he learns the ropes and finds his feet.

What could other forms of kindness be in the workplace?
• Asking a colleague how you can help them
• Choosing to be kinder in the way you use your words (Managers and leaders, remember you can be tough when needed, but kind)
• Being patient with others
• Listening
• Acknowledging the efforts of others
• Offering to make someone a cup of coffee
• Recognising the emotional needs of others
The list can go on...

This is your reminder to not underestimate the power of kindness at work. It has a ripple effect in the workplace, one that undoubtedly leads to increased productivity, work satisfaction and the general level of positivity within an organization!

Kindness starts with you. Will you let others stand under your umbrella?

Staff Training is a South African soft skills training provider with more than 60 workshops on offer.
Email us at info@StaffTraining.co.za for more info or give us a call at 0861 996 660


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