A Blog Series by STS Federal President and CEO, Cliff Ingari
The ripple effect – the continuing and spreading results of an event or action.
When it comes to being kind, we never really know the impact of the things we say and do. But, according to Joel Manby in his book, Love Works, we can be assured that being kind to employees has positive ripple effects that start with your employees and extend to your customers.
So, what does kindness mean in the context of how we treat our employees and what ripple effects can we expect?
Kindness in the workplace, Manby says, takes on several forms.
First, show encouragement and enthusiasm to your employees; make their day better.
How many names of your employees do you know? Ok, that one was easy. But, what about the names of your employees’ spouses and children? Do you know what their spouses do for a living? Do you know what sports their kids play?
Making an employee’s day better is easy and it’s free, but it does take work on the part of leaders. It means taking an interest in your employees’ interests and families. It means saying hello and asking how they are doing. It means asking about Blake’s big baseball game or how Maya did on her SATs. It means genuinely asking your employees how they are doing and providing encouragement and support whenever you can.
Another thing Manby encourages is to, “write ‘em up.” When I hear those words, it brings me back to thoughts of high school detention. Fortunately, “write ‘em up” is a positive thing, referring to handwritten notes to your employees to mark their accomplishments and special occasions. Again, it’s free – if you don’t count the cost of the paper!
Some of you are saying, “I don’t have the time to consistently do these things.” But I think you can’t afford not to have the time. I challenge you to take just 10 minutes of your day to write handwritten notes to your employees. Take 10 minutes each day to talk to them about their lives and make their day better. Everyone has 10 minutes.
According to Thesaurus.com, the antonym for kindness is harshness or meanness. I propose there is a more damaging attribute – and that is indifference.
Indifference puts people in the precarious position of not knowing where they stand at all. And, when people aren’t sure about where they stand, they assume the worst about themselves, their leadership, and the company – and it translates to their work effectiveness and efficiency. Simply put, when employees feel they are simply cogs in a wheel, they operate like cogs in a wheel, but when they feel valued, they take more ownership of the wheel. They translate your kindness into a genuine interest in making the company better and giving their customers a great experience in the process.
Kindness and indifference have ripple effects on your customer experience, your employee’s experience, and your own. Choose kindness.