The Kindness Challenge
Are you kind?
Is it one of your values to be kind to people? For a week, month or even just a day, try having the courage to intentionally be kind. I challenge you to consider the possibility that by being kind you will increase your own happiness, be more productive, ensure better health and create a stronger bottom line for your practice. Even better, how about if you work to promote a culture of kindness in your law firm or business?
I know – a culture of kindness in a law firm? Ridiculous, some might think, but maybe that is just because it is so different, and if you are honest – a bit uncomfortable.
We do not value kindness in legal culture, and I am not sure exactly why. But it most likely has to do with a fear that if you show kindness you will be perceived as weak and a pushover. No one wants that as an attorney. We want to be seen as a strong, capable and effective advocate. The “big guns” that parachute in to rescue the day for our clients.
Being Kind Takes Courage
Do not make the mistake of believing kindness equates with weakness. It does not.
Being kind requires an exceptional fortitude of character to do the right thing even when it is not popular, easy or efficient.
If you are secure in who you are and know your value, you can afford to be kind. If you are not secure in who you are and question your intrinsic value, well then you cannot afford to not be kind – especially to yourself. The fact is kindness is an important practice for a majority of highly successful professionals who also tend to be happy.
Yes, happy. Kindness goes hand-in-hand with happiness. Happy lawyer might seem like an oxymoron but it does not have to be for you. Being kind will help you be happier. Trust me.
I know this because of the simple principle that giving is much more gratifying than receiving. Especially when the giving is done because it is the right thing to do and not with an expectation of getting something in return.
And, just so we are clear, being kind does not mean rolling over or giving up your standards of excellence or principals. To the contrary, creating a culture of kindness in your firm means holding everyone to the highest standard possible.
Being snarky, sarcastic or bullying to another is so much easier than taking the time and energy to respond with authentic kindness. Law firms tend to be bullying cultures. One key reason lawyers overall end up so miserable.
Cultures of Kindness Increase Engagement
In creating a culture that values kindness, you will ensure increased collaboration and engagement. Research repeatedly demonstrates that employee engagement is directly correlated with higher levels of productivity and profitability. So, do it for the better bottom line.
I know what motivates. I do, and self- interest helps you move into behaving in ways that are not comfortable as first. Be kind for better performance and then see what comes back to you and your firm as a “soft” benefit – happier people, more client opportunities, more connections, better health due to lower stress, and eventually a better bottom line.
I say eventually because acts of kindness by themselves do not usually result in direct monetary benefits. It is the ripple effect that they create through the firm culture, your practice and your life that results in a rising tide of abundance.
Take a chance on promoting kindness and just see where it can take you.
Sometimes you just need some support or an impartial sounding board to assist you take that step forward. Let’s talk and see how I can help you move more quickly into clarity.
Success is a team sport. You don’t have to do this alone.