We are delighted to share this lovely blog piece from Krishnapriya Nair. The piece is entitled 'The Subtle Art of Being Kind in the Virtual Workplace' .
Krishnapriya is a global Organizational Development (OD)/HR professional with a passion to help organizations excel through and with people.
You can find Krishnapriya on LinkedIn: Here and on Twitter: @TheArdentHR
Over to Krishnapriya:
The Subtle Art of Being Kind in the Virtual Workplace
When you think of a typical corporate workplace, what is the image that first comes to your mind? Most of us would have an image of a place that is characterized by stress, competition, a dreadful boss, backbiting colleagues and abundance of gossips and coffee at the vending machine. Thanks to many movies and block buster series too, this is the image that gets etched in our minds time and again.
But are all workplaces really like this or do they have to be like this? If you can think of a place that was different from the above, what was the key element of that? For me, this definitely is not the well-stocked pantries or that long list of free perks or benefits or the amazingly styled lounge areas with pool tables. These are good to have. But one thing stands out for me and I am sure that would be the case for most of us - how people are treated and made to feel.
Most organizations have their value systems defined and how often do we see “Kindness” in that? Similarly, how often do we define a successful leader as a kind one? The commonly used adjectives for this are strong, tough etc. Does this mean that Kindness does not matter as a value in a corporate set-up? Does being kind make people and organizations weaker?
Although it looks like such a trivial and obvious thing as a differentiator in a workplace, it goes a long way in creating a culture that is inclusive and innovative and transforms a workplace into one that people look forward to come to work every single day.
Haven’t you heard people at work saying the following? “Toughen up!”, “Why being so touchy feely?”, “Grow Up!”, “Stop getting offended for such small things!” While I am not saying that people should bawl over work related issues, I cannot agree with the above. If in your work culture “Toughen Up” means we do and say rude things here and you need to take all of that and “Grow up’ means you can be a total jerk and pay no attention to others’ feelings, then by all means it is a toxic culture where only certain people can fit in.
The last one year of pandemic has taught us again that businesses and organizations are nothing but people and they need to be treated as humans with emotions, needs other than those at work and not as resources. It strongly reminded all of us about the transient nature of lot many things that we do at work and have at our offices that can be done away with, except one thing – the human connection. This underlines the importance of having kindness, empathy and respect weaved into everything that we do at work.
Now most of us feel that we are generally kind to others and we don’t do anything to perpetuate toxicity at work place. Yeah, this could be true as you might not be shouting at someone or being rude. The following are some of the things that I have observed in the last 1 year that are very subtle or passive and can happen often in a virtual set-up.
This is something that happens a lot in asynchronous communication when you are not sure of the emotions of the sender. So before we send out any emails, please double check to ensure that the tone of the email is not communicating anything that you did not intend to. People around us are anyway stressed out in one way or the other. Why to add an additional element of stress there?
This is one another interesting thing that I found through Matt Wallaert on Twitter. How kind this one is!
The above are some of the things that I have observed or experienced in the last one year. To an extent, we cannot blame people for this because this was all new to a lot of us. I might have done many of the above mistakes many times too. But being mindful and choosing kindness is the way forward here. While I close this here, I would like to leave all of us with a question that I am pondering upon .Why is kindness not hailed as a corporate virtue? Is it because all of us and our organizations carry the legacies from the industrial revolution, capitalism and bureaucracy in one way or other or is it because kindness is expected to be there and not to be explicitly called out?
Thank you so much to Krishnapriya for sharing this fab piece, highlighting the importance of kindness in the virtual workplace.
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Thank you once again to Krishnapriya for sharing such a lovely piece, we at #BeTheRipple of course totally agree that kindness should be at the core of everything we do in organisations.
Krishnapriya left us with the following questions: "Why is kindness not hailed as a corporate virtue? Is it because all of us and our organizations carry the legacies from the industrial revolution, capitalism and bureaucracy in one way or other or is it because kindness is expected to be there and not to be explicitly called out?" We would love to know your thoughts.
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