Why kindness is the best business strategy (and how to use it)

Want to build goodwill among customers and business contacts? Find out why kindness is so important, and three steps to start using it in business. 

It’s one of the least spoken about approaches to business, but an attitude of kindness is an underrated and powerful force. A single act of kindness can create such an unforgettable experience that in an instant, it can affect how clients and colleagues view or treat you from thereon.

And it doesn’t stop there, kindness has been shown to create a ripple effect that passes that intention onto others. It strengthens connections so that everyone benefits from the enhanced relationships and productivity that stems from it.

Why are people afraid of being kind in business?

The reason why some people don’t deploy kindness in business is because they see it as a weakness and confuse it with being soft.

But this is actually a sign of insecurity. They’ve probably witnessed mean people getting promoted and bosses being rude to their co-workers, and based on that, they believe that’s how you win the game.

Think back to a time when someone was rude to you. Did you feel less inclined to cooperate with them? Of course you did. Negativity builds resentment and holds everybody back.

Obviously, there are times in life when force needs to be used. Parents for instance, have to use their authority to control unruly kids, and managers occasionally have to reprimand those working against the company’s best interests. But whatever the situation, always try to choose the power of human kindness over force first. Nothing ever good comes from tearing other people down.

So you see, creating good business is not just about sales, marketing and negotiation, or putting enough hours in, and it’s not just about doing what you love. It’s also about being kind. 

The more you give in business, the more you get back

If you give value to someone else first in business, your reputation grows. This is part of the ripple effect we talked about earlier. You never know where the people you meet now are going to cross your path in future. They might end up in an influential position, and that connection could become valuable to you.

Even if they don’t have such status, they’ll still remember you and repay that kindness some other way, such as knowledge sharing or recommending you to their friends. You never know what opportunities you’ll amass by being a good person.

You can read exactly how being kind and paying it forward can result in positive benefits for your business here.

Three steps to using kindness in business

Here are three steps you can take to create a more cohesive, compassionate business.

1) Define your attitude

A good place to start is by identifying specific words which define your attitude and behavior towards your clients. Examples might be “friendly”, “warm” or “helpful”. Then start practicing what you preach by putting that behavior into action.

Say hello, smile, lend a hand when and where you can, and don’t forget to acknowledge clients and colleagues with a “thank you”. It’s not just about the words; it’s the intent behind them.

2) Control your emotions

If something frustrates or upsets you, it’s all too easy to react with a knee jerk response. Fighting back or avoiding the situation altogether is seen as negative. Stop, breathe and focus your thoughts so you can operate from a calm and objective place.

People feel more secure when you find the time to understand and engage with them rather than reacting badly.

 3) Show you care

One of the easiest ways to apply kindness into your work ethic is to demonstrate that you care. Learn about your clients, their history and the way they work. When you take the time to do this, it shows you have empathy and are more likely to make informed decisions when dealing with them. And you will be more sought after!

See the difference kindness makes

If kindness hasn’t been a number one priority in your work life, try spending some time doing something kind for someone else and see what difference it makes. It could give hope or even turn an enemy into a friend!

Most importantly, have zero expectation of getting anything in return, because when you come from that place, you’ll get more opportunities than you know what to do with.

Sue Pickford works for Intouch Accounting, the expert contractor accountancy firm for Limited Company contractors.

Photo by Sandrachile .