- Posted Monday July 22, 2019
“Don’t mistake politeness for lack of strength”: when Sonia Sotomayor of the US Supreme Court said these words, she was giving fair warning that her kindness should not be mistaken for any form of weakness.
Kindness is a powerful tool and gets amazing results, especially in team-based scenarios. Why? It’s because our lives and our futures are connected - whether we like it or not.
Approaching difficult conversations
Many GP practice managers who speak to Thornfields trainers about leadership and management skills ask variations on the same question: How do you improve relationships, especially when expectations have not been met?
Difficult conversations are the ones that most people would like to avoid, but conducting them in a sincere way, with a genuine desire to help someone reach their full potential, helps to forge a stronger relationship.
It’s true that we all have opinions, often differing, on how we should lead, or about the best ways to communicate and how to act in tough situations. The key is not to lose sight of one vital element of leadership - our responsibility to actually care about the success of others. If we don’t succeed here, we risk failing overall.
The Kindness Bag
The Kindness Bag represents out internal reserves of positivity and generosity. What are the most important messages and behaviours that we can demonstrate to our staff to reassure, motivate and inspire them on a daily basis?
Be Brave – Be the leader in the organisation who is known for their strength and resolve, and who delivers messages differently. Be the driver of creating an environment where kindness can thrive.
‘It’s OK’ – You and your staff can have varying and even opposing views, but conducting disagreements in a healthy way can lead to amazing results both in your organisation and personal life. We can disagree and still be kind – it’s OK.
Be Genuine – It’s the only way. Authenticity is a key attribute that is hugely valued by staff, both personally and professionally.
Happy people work harder!
A study conducted by the University of Warwick revealed that happy people at work are 12% more productive than unhappy people. The study included four different experiments with more than 700 participants.
Dr Eugenio Proto, one of the lead researchers, said: “We have shown that happier subjects are more productive… This research will provide some guidance for management in all kinds of organisations; they should strive to make their workplaces emotionally healthy for their workforce.”
So how can we implement this in practice? Here are a few simple ideas:
- Do you celebrate the success of your team and give recognition for what they do? Celebrating achievements is an act of kindness that can inspire others.
- Do you really care, and do you show it? Try to involve staff in decisions and listen to their opinions. You’ll gain a new perspective, whether you agree with it or not.
- Do you recognise and celebrate that staff member who came up with that great new idea, plan or approach?
- Never underestimate the effect of acts of kindness on creating a positive culture
A kind word works wonders - kindness can actually change people’s lives. Extend that to the business world and we suddenly create a wave of positivity and productivity. The key to it all is being genuine.
The hardest battle for revolutionary leaders is being kind to everyone - and that includes themselves. The more we look after ourselves, the easier it is to extend this out and treat others with the same kindness.
I love the following quote from author Leo Buscaglia: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
Be that change agent that you want to see more of in the world, and remember that just one person showing you kindness on a busy Monday morning can make your day and give you the motivation to show your greatness for all to see.
If this article has piqued your interest in developing your practice leadership skills, why not take a look at award-winning primary care training providers Thornfields’ ILM accredited courses for GP practice managers?