We wanted to start the week with a huge injection of positivity and today's blog post from Francisco Reyes Pereira fits the bill perfectly.
Francisco and I have never met in person, but we have been connected for a couple of months on LinkedIn and Twitter. He is a social entrepreneur who is keenly curious about science, technology and business. To know why people behave the way they do is one of his passions and he is a Co-Founder of 'Behave4', an organisation which helps others to understand how people really are and aims to help drive organisations to their highest performance level.
You can see more about Francisco's professional background in his LinkedIn profile: Here
Over to Francisco:
Probably reading the headline, you might think that this article is related to COVID-19 or something similar, but it isn’t, or yes… The coronavirus came to change our lives forever, but can we guess something good in this situation?
We’re living trying times, unprecedented situations that converge in healthcare, and economic issues, which are hitting us like never before. The other guests invited to this party are hatred, intolerance, and racism. Things cannot get any worse, and in fact, we’re living a social and economic blast. Coronavirus and racism have been deeply inoculated in our society all over the world. All this is ugly, extremely ugly, and as Perry Timms said in his article #ugly: “it is time to expunge ugly. It really is.”
Thereby, if we want to expunge ugliness, we should follow a new religion; we need to find a new vaccine that, with its irreplaceable power, contributes to creating a better world to live and work.
Controversial debates between people pro vaccines and against vaccines are in everybody’s mind. Each part defends its position almost irrationally and sometimes crossing the edge. It is like a religion in which people adamantly believe. Well known is that very religious people follow the dogma unconditionally because there are swelled of very diverse emotions which are difficult put into words. I would dare to say that it is blind and irrational faith.
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
This religion is called KINDNESS (slightly linked to positive reciprocity and trustworthiness), and when you put it to practice, its effect acts as a vaccine, a behavioral vaccine. It deactivates the hate, the selfishness, and the ugliness. And I wonder, if we have the opportunity to be kind, why not be? The answer could be in our socialization background. A recent study shows that negative reciprocity (which refers to the willingness to respond to unkind actions with unkindness, even at a personal cost) develops early during childhood, while positive reciprocity requires socialization and learning social norms.
When we frequently display positive reciprocity (rewarding a kind action) being generous with our peers, we are changing everything. If you practice kindness consistently, it will become a habit, and it is always worthy.
What can we do to prick this behavioral vaccine?
- First of all, lead by example. Leaders and managers should start being kind to their people as a regular practice. Don’t forget the impact of mirror neurons (humans learn by imitating others’ behavior).
- Promote and reward kindness. Some companies are introducing in their benefits policies a program called “Say Thanks” where people can award their peers with points. Once they earn a certain amount of points, they can cash them in using a personalized catalog (to know more, please follow @TheHRPanda on twitter). Why not promote kind and prosocial behavior?
- Start by your organizational culture. Kind and prosocial behavior cannot be an accessory, tangential, and improvised element. It has to be a priority, and managers should be accountable and make efforts to spread this kind of behavior among employees. An organization where selfishness, spitefulness, and disrespect are allowed will hardly go far.
- Foster personal relationships and ethical behavior. Managers and leaders should know how to manage what is called in behavioral economics “Altruistic Punishment” (i.e., the willingness to punish others for violating social norms or being unkind to other people). If we don’t master this particular social preference, cooperation and trustworthiness could dramatically decrease. Do you guess how this fact affects the company’s performance?
- Improve your hiring practices. Hire positively reciprocal people. It will contribute to increasing the social and emotional intelligence quotient of your organization. The consequence of doing this? More cohesive and productive teams, higher levels of happiness while working, higher levels of trust, and, last but not least, the organization will reach a high profitability level.
- Be agile. In the words of Steve Browne, agile policies only work when you are others-focused instead of self-focused, and this necessarily includes kindness.
“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.”
Despite what many people can think, kindness is the ultimate strength; yes, you are reading it right. Today we know that fostering kindness has priceless benefits for organizations. People will persist longer, perform better, and work reliably (i.e., little absenteeism) if organizations promote well-being and prosocial behaviors such as being kind to others. Besides, this will positively affect employees’ happiness and satisfaction.
In conclusion, if you want to follow a new religion, that should be KINDNESS. On the other hand, if you wish to vaccinate people against hate and racism, choose KINDNESS again. Please be aware of this and keep moving forward to a better world.
Be Kind, be Kind, be Kind.
Thank you so much to Francisco for sharing this timely piece, a lovely reminder that when kindness is intentionally brought to the front of organisational thinking, positive changes will likely follow - one ripple at a time.
Changing our workplaces and wider society takes a commitment from every one of us to #BeTheRipple that will join with others and become a wave of kindness. Together we are stronger and can create a huge and powerful wave of change.
Thank you once again to Francisco for this lovely contribution.
If you would like to submit a blog for this series, please send your work via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a good weekend and see you next week for another instalment of the #BeTheRippleBlogs.
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