Claude Silver: Be active with your kindness
Vaynermedia’s Claude Silver looks at the year ahead and why in her world, active compassion isn’t just a nice to have – it can be the difference.
Why You Should Care
The Chief Heart Officer at Vaynermedia shares why it needs to be more than just talk, when it comes to compassion and kindness.
Do you find yourself reflecting on the past too much? She also shares why she wants to remove the idea of shame from the workplace.
Every year, my guiding people principles are always the same; leading with kindness, being the bigger person, taking accountability, using empathy, being a passenger on someone else’s journey (rather than thinking that you have to feel exactly what they felt or have all of the answers), and compassion. Those are always going to be my guiding principles.
New for this year? I think we need a healthy dose of patience, as we are now out of the pandemic, and we are trying to figure out what is the best way to keep and foster a healthy culture in this hybrid working world.
It’s going to be an adventure, and there is going to be some trial and error.
We need to have enormous amounts of patience for people coming into the office, and for people not wanting to; is it that they’ve been isolated for so long that they’re comfortable there? Have they moved away for a healthier way of living, for being able to buy a home, for example?
So, I don’t think ‘mandatory’ is a word that we should be using right now when it comes to office policy, as we’re all trying to figure this out.
People are coming to us with their best intent – they come to work to collaborate, and we need to make sure that we are giving them the opportunity to grow and develop with healthy subjective feedback.
There are ways to do this: Leaning more into learning and development (L&D), finding ways to teach that work for your company and the age group of your company.
At Vaynermedia, we have taken our L&D curriculum from a classroom and Zoom environment to bite-size video chunks. We’ve modeled it off of Reels, Instagram and TikTok – three minutes tops.
You walk across the floor at work, and that’s what everyone is doing, they’re creating bite-size content, so that’s what we do because that’s where the world is. You have to keep up.
Soft skills training is incredibly important: I posted something on LinkedIn recently about shame, and it caught some people’s eye.
I believe that for a variety of reasons, as we grow up and get older, we end up carrying baggage, embarrassment, resentment, frustrations with ourselves. That ends up causing us shame. We end up finding ways to punish ourselves and when we punish ourselves, we remove ourselves from the present, because we’re existing in the past; It creates isolation, it creates armor.
In the workplace, I believe that shame shows up either in boundaried protection, and it also shows up in the way of our imposter syndrome and our limiting beliefs.
I want to remove shame, because it’s the imprisonment of self. It’s a prison sentence. If we can remove shame by dousing that fire with more love, more empathy, more gratitude, more humility, everything I talk about; more compassion, more action-oriented kindness, I really believe we have a shot at being able to see people where they are, and help them actually see the truth.
The questions I have for myself in 2023 are around active compassion: All of the emotiomnal intelligence (EQ) traits, the soft skill traits that we value, how does HR start to act from a place of tenderness?
How do you treat yourself well and be kind and compassionate, and thus treating your employees, co-workers, the people that you’re in the elevator with, that same way?
So how do we give ourselves permission to find happiness and joy, to provide that to other people in any which way we can? I think truly that it’s by treating people the way certainly we want to be treated.
As the Maya Angelou quote goes: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” And how we make someone feel – good, bad, ugly, disgusting, shameful, happy, elated, is all that matters. And that comes from the heart.
A final thought on self-preservation: sometimes you have to keep an eye on your energy. If my energy is not good, if I’m in a funky place, then I absolutely should not have that next meeting with that person, if I can help it. I might not be listening to them. But if I’m in a great place, why wouldn’t I want to share that? Then, it’s time for a more active tenderness.
How many more articles do we need to see about being vulnerable, and leading with empathy and kindness until it’s happening? This is why we need an active revolution of compassion and kindness.
The International Festival of HR is back and the agenda is now live! Discover amazing speakers from the world of HR and business at UNLEASH America on 26-27 April 2023.
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Jon has 20 years' experience in digital journalism and more than a decade in L&D and HR publishing.
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