Being kind in the workplace is one of the biggest and best pro-social behaviours out there. Just make sure to keep it in check, so you can keep on giving sustainably well into the future. Image by Vecteezy.

Shower Thought: How To Be Kind Without Being A Pushover

Having worked in various organisations with a blur of different personalities, I began to become fascinated with the important art of getting along, and the behavioural science behind it. One of the returning pieces of advice we are given when working with others is to be generous and giving, more recently promoted by organisational psychologist Adam Grant in his book Give and Take. Many studies show that being kind to others can actually make us happy in a number of different ways, from strengthening connections to mood boosting. We know that being generous or cooperating with others lights up the striatal regions of the brain, which is linked to the reward system, such as enjoying nice food. Being kind not only can make us feel good, it also promotes collaboration and productivity in a workplace. But, I began to wonder how we can be kind, without getting depleted? By looking through research papers, I have found 4 ways to do this: set boundaries; be in a kindness-rich environment; be kind to yourself first; and help in areas that energise you.

  1. Respond to taking behaviour with matching behaviour: Instead of helping with no strings attached, hold takers accountable for their behavior, helping them only if they will reciprocate.
  2. Communicate when you are overwhelmed: One of the simplest ways to be sustainably kind is to certainly engage in the behaviour, but communicate when it becomes overwhelming. An open communication climate requires unrestricted, honest and mutual interaction for people to understand each other better, to promote tolerance and to minimize conflicts, as well as promote health. Just let the person know that you though would like to help, the workload is somewhat overwhelming at this time.

Just a curious human.

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