In times of hijacking moments, drastic change, uncertainty, and complexity, we forget about the acts of kindness that can change someone’s life.
Holidays – The Perfect Time For Expresso Kindess!
What started Expresso Kindness? There was a new trend in Europe in 2013 called “pending coffee”. In these times of economic hardship, customers will visit their local coffee shop, purchase a coffee and then purchase one or more “pending coffees.” The barista logs the pending coffees into the store’s book, and later when someone down on his/her luck comes in, s/he can ask if there are any pending coffees. Voila – such kindness results in lifting the spirits of a total stranger! Pending coffee is Expresso Kindness!
What we propose is that you share a simple kindness not only with strangers, but also with your staff, volunteers and clients. During the holidays, many of us try to be extra kind to store clerks, the mail carrier, and the Salvation Army bell ringer but neglect to practice kindness toward those we see everyday.
Og Mandino had once remarked, “Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight.” A somewhat morbid thought, but here is what he goes on to say:
Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”Og mandino
Other Forms of Expresso Kindness
Being kind is free and it’s easy. Try some of these ideas with your employees, volunteers, and clients, and see if it makes a difference:
- Smile. A scowl makes your staff or clients hesitate to approach you; they wonder what’s going on with you and they worry that they either have, or will, contribute to your problems. Instead, a pleasant relaxed expression makes you seem more approachable. Your smile also sets the tone for the day’s interactions across the organization.
- Positive Attitude. Along with a smile, try on a positive attitude. This requires a change in focus from attitude to gratitude. Instead of complaining about what is going wrong, focus on the opportunities and what is working well. Some days the best you can say is that the furnace works, but your staff, volunteers and clients will all notice the difference and in turn be happier to be around you.
- Recognize the Good. People like to know that they are doing a good job so tell them. Sharing a genuine compliment is not only kind but helps build loyalty within your organization. Caution: it needs to be a sincere compliment and not overdone.
- Say Thank You. This is a big little thing. Simply saying thank you to someone for refilling the paper tray, or for getting the report done on time shows that you are observant and appreciative. To do this, you may have to step away from the thought, “well, it’s their job; I shouldn’t have to say thank you.” Think about the times someone thanks you for what may be a little task; feels good, doesn’t it?
- Helping Hand. Just because you are the leader, it isn’t beneath you to help out. Refill the coffee pot when it gets low, carry someone’s laptop or stack of files on the way to a meeting, make sure an employee knows to take their full lunch hour when you’ve held them over for a meeting. There are a myriad of ways to “do” kindness everyday; try it and see what happens.
During the heart of this holiday season, you have an opportunity to begin to build a culture of respect and kindness, two motivators that cause your people to strive to excel. Keep it up after the holidays and your team will be pleasantly surprised at the change in atmosphere.
If you would like to see more suggestions on things you can do to exhibit kindness, take a look at this ezine article by Steve Howard.
- Attitude is key to kindness, and a sense of gratitude helps you focus on kindness. What are the top 5 things for which you are grateful today?
- Where did you compliment someone today? Or tell them thank you?
- Stop what you are doing and close your eyes. Recall a pleasant experience – a vacation moment, a small child climbing into your arms, or a favorite book and beverage. Now open your eyes and SMILE!