When was the last time you performed a random act of kindness?
I try to sprinkle them throughout my day. Whether it is extending a compliment to a co-worker, holding the door for someone at the post office, saying thank you to a server, or offering a word of encouragement to someone who looks like he or she could use it—the impact of random acts of kindness should not be underestimated.
Kindness is defined as “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.”
- Are you friendly? When someone steps up to the counter, or walks over to your truck, or pops into your office, do you smile? Do you offer to help? Even if they are upset, do you put your best foot forward or does your verbal and non-verbal communication relay impatience, ingratitude, and general unfriendliness? The former may not always win the day, but the likelihood of de-escalation and resolution is greatly increased when friendliness is part of the equation.
- Are you generous? Do you give time to both internal and external customers? Do you expend energies on behalf of others, or do you default more to a “that’s not in my job description” posture? We typically tie generosity to financial giving, and as a result do a great disservice to the word. Be generous with customer service. Be generous with honesty. Be generous with ethics. An investment of generosity may yield some of life’s greatest returns.
- Are you considerate? Do you show up to work on time? Do you volunteer to take out the trash on occasion? Do you consistently, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes? When you make such choices, you make the world a better place. Perhaps Winnie the Pooh said it best, “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” And indeed it does.
You may not think a few random acts of kindness will amount to much, but as my friend Patrick Mead says, “Snowflakes on their own don’t make a big difference. But if you get enough of them together, they can shut down Atlanta!” How wonderful it would be to see a “kindness snowball” run through the public sector and make our communities better places for all.
Start small. Offer a compliment today. Listen to the needs of a customer. Really listen. Ask someone, “May I help you?” And then help! Perhaps an avalanche of kindness is just around the corner.