Serial Entrepreneur | Founder of bonapp.eco | Philanthropist | Chief Dad Officer
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted,” Aesop, a Greek fabulist and storyteller, is known to have once said. As an entrepreneur, I also believe the future of business belongs to the kind, sympathetic, modest and empathic leaders.
I think there is an increasing connection between kindness and success in business. Kindness is one small thing that can make a big difference. It can inspire people you work with, and it does not require much effort or investment. Let’s dive, together, into this ocean called “kindness” and discover its not-so-hidden treasures.
Kindness can inspire and move people in the workplace.
As a leader, you might be inclined to believe that you should be ruthless and ready to do “whatever it takes” to get the company to the next level. However, this view of leadership is as obsolete as a floppy disk. In today’s world, you have to constantly fight for the loyalty of your team members and leave goodwill marks on every corner.
As an entrepreneur who values sustainability and has launched a startup that aims to create a positive social and environmental impact, I can tell you firsthand that people are increasingly driven by positive values. I’ve found this to be true for employees, suppliers, clients and investors. Generosity brings out more generosity, a virtuous circle. It is contagious, as shown in a white paper by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.
Be kind, and I believe you will soon see how fruitful it can be in business. I’ve found that doors will open for you, people will smile more and the business will grow. To me, it works like karma.
Business intelligence and kindness are strongly connected.
What’s the difference between a successful leader and an unsuccessful one? I would say it’s the ability to understand people, primarily co-workers and clients. To do this with kindness, recognize their needs, desires, frustrations, dreams and challenges. Listen to people without judging them, understand the drivers of change and strive to make them happy. This is the only way to create a product or service that people love and adopt without knowing in advance that they needed it. I believe it is also the only way to inspire your team and create a working environment that holds people together, even in the “Great Resignation” era.
In a competitive business environment, flexibility, agility and risk-taking are often praised as the most valuable qualities a leader could have. I would stress the importance of kindness as well. It’s a seatbelt that keeps you down to earth and connected to the people who matter the most.
Titles are temporary, but your kindness will be remembered forever.
Your mentor who guided you through those confusing first career years; your first employer who showed understanding when you made mistakes; your manager who gave you a second chance after an epic failed presentation; your client who gave honest feedback that saved many contracts; and your competitor who wanted to have an open talk about the market and the challenges you both face—these are people who influenced your life positively. Try to return those acts of kindness whenever the opportunity occurs.
In doing so, they will remember you as the person who helped them when they needed it the most, not that you were the CEO of a company. After all, titles are just titles.
Furthermore, you never know when you will meet again, nor in what context. They might show you kindness again down the road when you need it, too. That said, I recommend practicing unconditional altruism, the only true altruism. Don’t think too much about the “return on investment” when being nice to people.
Kindness combined with cleverness is the recipe.
There are studies that demonstrate just how happy people are when they show kindness. A Harvard University study found that people felt happier “after performing a goal-directed act of kindness.” Why not use this information on your behalf? Be kind, and you—and the people around you—just might be happier as a result.
“Cleverness is a gift; kindness is a choice,” Jeff Bezos said, according to CNBC. “Although being smart comes in handy, kindness is invaluable to achieving your career goals.” I would add that combining both cleverness with kindness is the ultimate key to success. It creates a work environment that nourishes performance and creativity, as well as efficiency and joy.