Whether we experience kindness, deliver acts of kindness, or witness others being kind, we all get the same emotional payout. A rush of Oxytocin – also known as the “love drug” and the “hugging hormone” – which makes us feel good inside and gives us a sense of calm confidence. This creates safety rather than fear.
Kindness should never be mistaken for weakness. Nor should kindness just appear as a strategy that encompasses wellbeing initiatives and posters on the wall.
Kindness and empathy guide us through failures and can springboard us into inspiration and innovation and because they create a sense of true psychological safety. An “I got you” goes a long way after you trip and fall.
That sense of belonging creates a reduction in anxiety and releases of Oxytocin which encourages us to get back on the horse and try again. And this leads to innovation. Because innovation rests on learning from failure, kindness is an important aspect of creating new ideas.
All organizations benefit from actively fostering kindness. In workplaces where acts of kindness have become the norm, the domino effects can be exponential. When people receive an act of kindness, they pay it back, and not just to the same person, but often to someone entirely new. This leads to a culture of generosity in an organization. Kindness is the glue.
It’s time we catalyze a new leadership model that places humanity at the heart of business purpose. Let’s embrace leadership that is inclusive, transparent, action oriented, kind and boldly collaborative.
With that in mind, here are three reasons why leaders should be kinder to their workforce:
Longevity and loyalty
I believe that one of the keys to building strong teams is longevity. When you have longevity in a team, you have speed of trust and you have an ability to ride through the storm together.
In order to even get to that place you must have built a relationship of connection prior. And that needs to be built on what human beings are all about, which is making sure that people feel appreciated.
I always say that a simple thank you goes a very long way. Thank you – it’s so easy, isn’t it? If I’m on Zoom call I look into someone’s eyes and ask them about their weekend, I show them that I am present and I am actively listening. That I care.
These are all things that promote a sense of kindness, a sense of wellbeing and safety which means a person can let down their guard. My belief is that if you do that, most people will return the favor and want to work with you and help you out the best they can.
Trust for innovation
Leaders who lead with kindness and empathy will grow trust from their workforce. This leads to greater innovation.
As a leader, especially if you’re in the C-suite or SVP and those upper echelons, it is your job to instill trust.
I believe it is your job to create that safety and remove fear in your employees. You can take the pressure out of the system about being ‘right’ all the time. Because when someone feels like they have to be right all the time, they’re going to feel like they can’t fail. And you get to progress and you get to drive change and get to innovation, through failing.
For some, it is about stubbing your toe and stumbling on the ground. Because then if you’re in a safe space, you are able to rise up, feel confident that the leader trusts you to go, and have a whack at it again. That’s how innovation works. Learning to fail is how you learn to exceed innovation.
People over profits works
It is dependent on you as a CEO, or you as a leader of the company, knowing that you’re either going to put people first, or you’re going to put profit first.
You can have 51% people, 49% profit – but that tiny little percentage point allows you to lean into your people. It makes all the difference because without it, you’re surely not going to get attention today.
We have to be listening to what the demographic is asking for. And that’s integrity. The Gen Z’s and the Millennials who are taking up all of that workplace space understand this and they are so key right now because they are driving change.
By working in smarter ways, which is by listening to our employees, by acting with more integrity around how we treat our people, will keep the business productive and profitable.
Even we had to let people go during the pandemic, but we did so with kindness, compassion, and transparency into the decision-making. So we’re always going to have to make hard decisions, but that’s what leadership is about. You can do it in a way that makes people feel like they matter. Leaders need to be hands-on and present in these situations.
VaynerX’s Voices at 1:37pm program
We launched a brand new program that we run every single day at 1:37pm East Coast time. It is a closed YouTube channel where we have special guests, celebrities, academics, and employees come in for 15 minutes from 1:37 to 1:52.
The goal is to give our employees an actual break in their day and a chance to bond with and feel our culture, We have asked every single person to not schedule meetings, to not have phone calls, to not have client meetings, but to grab a cup of tea or bite to eat, and for 15 minutes, be entertained and inspired.
It’s all intentionally rooted culture and kindness and giving people that 15-minute break in their day.
I think leaders need to be more accessible and more available these days. It’s less about them and more about their people, then they will see the kind of results they want.
Outside of VaynerMedia, Claude Silver speaks globally about the need for heart-leadership in today’s workplace and the importance of treating “employees” like people, not numbers. Her success guiding client relationships, global brand strategies, operations, management, and culture is driven by an abiding passion for creating spaces in which people can thrive. Connect with Claude on LinkedIn here.