February 20, 2022

Kindness at work

Response from sharing the post from Mike Son (link here)

Sharing a wonderfully written post with some thoughtful advice from Mike Son, a force of nature who I was lucky to have had the pleasure of working with at Uber for his 6.5 years there. Each of the points mentioned is deep and requires reflection, but one that caught my attention is the last point on kindness. This past month, my daughter had an assignment on showcasing kindness and articles on kindness kept coming up on my social feeds. The universe is conspiring to make me reflect on the concept of kindness. While I love the concept as part of our daily living, it has never been one that I have associated with the workplace. I wanted to explore more.

The Oxford dictionary defines kindness as “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” If I think back to all of the performance reviews I have ever given or received, kindness is not there. We touch on soft skills such as being positive, being transparent, being flexible, and a dozen others. Did we miss the mark on not including kindness as one of the values that we embrace?

The word kindness reminds me of my friends Max Lai and Jamie Lin. Max is considerate of all those who he comes in contact with. For example, if we were out with a large group of people, he is the person who would drive an hour out of the way to make sure even the people he just met returned home safely. He is generous with his time and constantly goes out of his way to help family, friends, and strangers.

Jamie is a person who I interacted with for a short time close to 20 years ago, but her kindness has left a lasting impression on me. I don’t recall the exact details but she is the type of person who would wake up early in the morning to prepare and pack a meal for her roommates if she knew that they were busy that day. When eating out family style, she always reserves the best pieces of the food for others knowing that they wanted it. What’s special about her is her humble approach to it, as I recall seeing her show acts of kindness and do so in secret.

For both Jamie and Max, being kind is part of their nature and what makes them great human beings. Both are in the medical profession, which makes sense. We should be thankful for that. However, what happens if we focus on being kind at work in a non-medical field? What would that look like?

Imagine someone going out their way to help you on a project if they see that you have a lot on your plate. Or people engaging with new employees to make sure that they are properly introduced and welcomed, even if they are not on the same team. Or people fighting not to take credit for a job well done but to give credit to those who contributed. Or simply people who are considerate about you for you as a human being and as a person figuring how to navigate work in this stressful world. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful community to be a part of?

Mike, I think you have something here about kindness. Let's make it cool to be generous, to be considerate, to be kind at the workplace.

What acts of kindness have you seen at work?

#DeliverbyWenSzuLin #TheUntaughtLessons