how to work kindly

how to work kindly

Listen to Sam share how to Work Kindly along with a few other thoughts.

Most of our culture challenges at work exist because we don’t do the needed relationship work ... consistently.

We’re all responsible for it. But, those in a leadership role have the power to make it much easier by modeling that needed relationship work and connecting more consistently with the people they work with.

But it’s not happening enough and I'm not confident it ever will. Even so, we can put a big positive dent in it (you, me, the people we care about, even those we don't).


I was waiting to speak at a conference one morning.

Flipping through the program guide, I noticed one of the presentations slated for the afternoon ... “Workplace Harassment, Workplace Bullying.”

I thought to myself, “If I do my job well this morning, that talk doesn't need to happen.” So, I did a little research and learned...

Google sees over 25,000 searches a month for the phrases “workplace harassment” and “workplace bullying.” 'Workplace improvement' and similar searches all around positive words are less than 10% of that.

I see that as pointing to a very typical approach to culture and relationship development within workplaces (life too). Highly attentive to the problem ... less attentive to what can keep the problem from happening.

Corrective rather than preventive.

That’s an expensive and unnecessarily painful approach to what could otherwise be a much more enjoyable work/relationship experience.

It doesn't have to happen like that, but sometimes we let it slip up on us. Maybe we...

  • Get a little lazy and offload the better culture/better relationships responsibility to other people.
  • Forget culture and relationships need and deserve ongoing reinforcement by everyone ... regardless of position.
  • Lose hope and resign ourselves to the costly and painful experiences that come from inattention.

My recommendation...

We enjoy our personal opportunity to be a better part of someone else's day.

We commit to Working Kindly and remind ourselves of our commitment as often as we need to in order to make it stick (start of the day, 3 times a day, hourly … a reminder on your phone and/or computer maybe).


How do we Work Kindly?

  • Remove the ego. Let go of any entitlement and remember our work is always about making things better for someone else.
  • Give others time. Give them our time patiently and give them more of their time back by having a sense of urgency for their day.
  • Remember our options. We always have choices in how we respond to someone/thing. Pause. Think. Choose helpful.


How do you help people Work Kindly?

Our little reminder cards can help.

Share them. Have a conversation around the ideas. Make the points a topic for a quick (and important) meeting. All kinds of ideas are below.

The cards (and other gear) will help you make it real. All of it will help everyone make a deeper and more meaningful connection to the importance of being a better part of someone's day.

With awareness comes responsibility.

Shop all Work Kindly products.


More ideas on how to use the material...

  • Hand (or send) out the reminder cards to your team and talk about the ideas together ... a quick meeting to remind everyone to be a better part of everyone's day and Work Kindly.
  • Include the reminder cards or 5 in. x 7 in. prints with other handouts at a meeting as an added reminder.
  • Put out the mugs to set the tone at your next meeting.
  • Use the cards or prints to reinforce attentive and helpful attitudes for an upcoming project or when announcing a new organizational objective. (“It’s going to be challenging but also exciting when we make it happen. As leaders, let’s be sure to encourage everyone to be generous with their time and to keep their ego from getting in the way of the work. Let's model that ourselves too.”)
  • Attach a reminder card to a pay stub with a note of congratulations (“Thanks for Working Kindly!”).
  • Include the cards or 5 in. x 7 in. prints with any internal organizational mailings.
  • To add value to a book you give someone, place a reminder card inside. They make great bookmarks.
  • Introduce the ideas to everyone in a meeting. Then leave a reminder card or print on everyone’s desk (or stand one up in everyone’s computer keyboard) a couple weeks later to reinforce the ideas.
  • Give the cards or mugs out to new hires in your onboarding package.
  • Put the prints up in the office, in a break room, or at the site of your next meeting.

Shop all Work Kindly products.

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