People should be treated with basic kindness. The way we treat each other establishes our relationships. People don’t need a reason to be kind. Yet kindness has a powerful impact. Kindness generates connectivity and trust. Research has shown kindness increases productivity, prosocial behaviors and can even improve health.
The Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX) conducted a comprehensive study which revealed shocking comparisons between the most civil teams and the least civil teams. Respectful teams possess 26% more energy; 30% increase in feelings of vitality and are 30% more motivated and likely to acquire new skills and be open to new ideas. Respectful teams are also 36% more satisfied with their jobs and 44% more committed to their organizations. Supervisors rated respectful teams’ performance 20% higher. Least civil work teams generally suffer from much more lost time, resulting in the balance of the team being affected. Work performance and engagement suffer as a result.
Adam Grant and Francesca Gino studied the impact gratitude had on social worth. They found increased social worth led to an increase in prosocial behavior; a social behavior that benefits others. Their experiments measured reactions to receiving oral and written expressions of gratitude. They found helpers who were thanked were motivated to engage in prosocial behavior. When people received a written expression of gratitude, the subjects found more than one person was the beneficiary of prosocial behavior. In an experiment with a manager expressing gratitude to fundraisers, the number of fundraisers’ calls increased. Gratitude expressions increase prosocial behavior by enabling individuals to feel socially valued, according to this study.
The APEX study pointed to several other studies that demonstrated negative supervisory relationships damaging physical health. One impact of a bad boss is significantly higher blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to a number of serious health conditions. Another study demonstrated the long-term effects of a toxic leader. Employees who had a difficult relationship with their boss were 30% more likely to develop coronary heart disease even after controlling major risk factors including perceived workload, income and supervisory status.
Emma Seppala’s article “The Hard Data on Being a Nice Boss” in Harvard Business Review also uncovered the association between workplace stress and coronary heart disease. When we feel safe and secure in social relationships, it lowers heart rates and blood pressure and strengthens our immune system. Emma also spoke of a study that demonstrated when leaders are fair to their team; the team is more productive and civil.
Emotions are contagious. A Stanford study showed employees are “particularly likely” to catch emotions from their leadership. And kind organizations are more likely to attract kind candidates. In Businessolver’s study; 33% of employees would transfer to more empathetic employers and 20% would transfer even with less pay.
To be good at your job includes being nice. Please and thank you should be said, not implied. Thank you.