Stress levels and mental health is a hot topic and rightly so. It is effecting
the productivity of every workforce across the planet. With particularly industries being reported as at ‘Breaking point’, the organisations are feeling the struggle as people become transiant in their jobs, seeking out the illusive happiness that the world talks about. We are more enlightened than ever before and this in turn is ensuring that no one wants to settle. A huge cost and impact on organisations. With the research saying that there is a steady growth of this across the working world for individuals, we recognise that a change was required.
This was when resilience became the training of choice, the buzz word to ensure that employees are all able to cope with change, stress and the challenges bought about an ever-evolving workplace. Alongside that, many organisations set about training colleagues to be Mental Health first aider. Yet some organisations felt that by providing this that there is no need to address where the stress comes from, to place a sticky plaster over the issues.
So how do we change this in its simplest way?
The research we have completed on Kindness in leadership has allowed to understand the core values that underpin a kinder organisation but also the actions that get us here. When we talk about kindness in leadership, we are not discussing an action, such as the boss bringing in the doughnuts and providing a room to relax, we are talking about a value and behaviour that is deep rooted in the very culture of everything the organisation does. Seems far from where you might be.
So let me firstly share with you the theory, then I am going to share how this and my personal experiences of building resilience that you can take into your work life to support a better experience.
When following the principles behind the Culture of Kindness theory, within any organisation we aim to build the workplace using a figurative house model.
The foundations for any structure are always key. These foundations are based on the rules that we agree to work by, the 'organisational morals'. We ensure that within our program that these are drawn out, understood and embedded within the organisation before we continue to build the house. As we all know, any structure built on poor foundations will eventually collapse and so we ensure that our training is not just a checklist but a way or working so that the organisation and the people who make it can grow together.
We then have the walls of the house, these consist of four key elements which make up emotional intelligence. Strengthening these within each employee is key for the future success of any building/organisation standing the test of time as well as supporting employees as individuals. Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness and Relationship Management are the specific areas we focus on, whereby we seek to demonstrate measurable responses to the success of this training section.
The roof is based on the seven core values which underpin the idea of kindness from our initial employee research, Gratitude, Empathy, Time, Trust, Integrity, Connection and Courage. We have found that some organisations only seek to look at one or two of these values upon request, whilst others discover where the needs are from our Health check. We work with you to reach the optimal outcome, that which will be most beneficial for your teams.
On the last 10 years kindness was had not been an intentional route of research. However, I started to complete sponsored challenges each year and I decided that whilst I had raised money previously that I would start doing them asking people to complete an act of kindness for a stranger rather than donate money. Originally, I wanted to start a conversation on the power that kindness had, and that it had more power than money if we could come together. I also wanted to start a conversation that if we started to share more kindness stories on the internet then what might happen to how we felt about ourselves and the world as a whole.
What I discovered firstly that kindness was a simply an act it was at it's best a moral behaviour that could permeate into a person and become the essence of them. However, I also discovered that whilst in my 15 years of leadership that the companies I had worked for were in the most part missing the essence of kindness, and I realised that if we could bring this into workplaces that in fact we could have happier workforces and individuals in society.
I am going to give you a top tip that is always a winner in the workshops we complete with organisations.
Ask yourself, how often do you or others sit in a meeting and tell people your thoughts as a leader? How much of a meeting do you spend in silence? People want to be heard and seen, it is part of the values that made up great leaders. If you are reflecting thinking that you speak a lot in a meeting, I would challenge you to look and observe this week and consider not giving your wisdom or opinions but only asking questions. We always love to hear outcomes of these social experiments for you.
To get a copy of the Culture of Kindness book and more leadership support, pop to https://amzn.to/3EKPtBq
You can listen to the Culture of Kindness podcast here https://bit.ly/3qFSKgp
Through a full suite of activities based on the research and theory, we are transforming organisations to have higher productivity, improved employee retention, engagement and reduction of stress and anxiety in the workplace. Get in touch to get a copy of all we do firstname.lastname@example.org