13 Workplace Acts of Kindness to Inspire Your Team

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As workplace leaders, we all have so many tasks to accomplish in a 40-hour (or more) workweek that it’s easy to overlook the opportunities we have to improve someone else’s day. Whether it’s something as big as helping with research for a project or as small as picking up a piece of paper they dropped, little acts of kindness go a long way in boosting employee engagement, team collaboration, and morale. 

In celebration of World Kindness Day on November 13, here are 13 tips for inspiring everyday kindness by setting an example as a servant leader:

1. Provide simple comforts to the team.

This could be something quick, like bringing coffee to a coworker when you refill your own cup. It could also mean planning ahead by sharing a snack once a week (donuts, anyone?) and encouraging team members to do the same. 

2. Offer words of encouragement.

Give your team members kudos during meetings and reward employees who recognize each other with appreciation and praise. A few kind words can really turn someone’s day around.

3. Set reminders for yourself for employee recognition.

Take time daily or weekly to acknowledge at least one person who made your job a little better. The recognition can be as simple as a thank-you email!

4. Start a conversation in the elevator.

If you’re in the elevator with someone you don’t know very well, it’s easy enough to say, “Hello!” Ask them about their job and what they like most about it. Having that at the top of their mind when they head back to their desk can be a great motivator.

5. Listen to someone vent.

Sometimes, the kindest thing you can do for someone is to be there for them when they’re frustrated. Be a sounding board for someone, and ask whether they need advice or just need to get it out of their system. Both can be incredibly helpful.

6. Celebrate the wins.

Whether big or small, it’s important to celebrate your employees’ successes along the way. Send a quick note to thank them for their hard work during a long project or even buy them lunch when they hit a goal.

7. Acknowledge personal milestones.

It’s important to remember what’s going on in your team’s personal lives too. Give employees a handwritten card and their favorite treat for their birthday or company anniversary. Invite coworkers to sign the card, if they want (but don’t require them to … you want to inspire — not force — acts of kindness).

8. Support a charity of your team’s choosing.

Host a collection or make a donation to your team’s favorite organizations to celebrate reaching certain objectives. This is a great way to spark some fun competition, rather than putting more pressure on employees.

9. Organize a team outing.

Take your team out of the office a few times a year. A change of scenery can be a great treat to break up the monotony of daily office life.

10. Write holiday cards.

Handwritten cards around the holidays are a fantastic way to thank each team member individually for their hard work over the last year.

11. Help your team meet new people.

Whether you have a small business or are part of a larger organization, there are bound to be people in your workplace who don’t know each other well (or at all). Introduce them or share what they have in common. You never know what opportunities might come from a connection you facilitate.

12. Display motivating words.

Write a team mission statement or borrow some motivating quotes and post them up on the wall in your team’s workspace. You can change this out based on what your team needs to hear that week as a constant source of encouragement.

13. Ask for help.

It’s important to be kind to yourself too! When you’re feeling stressed or unmotivated, use your team as a resource to help where they can. They’ll be glad you can rely on them, and you can give yourself a break.

How many acts of kindness will you bring to your workplace this week?

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the co-owner and leader of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, LinkedIn.