It’s the season for kindness.
This personal virtue is more than simply something to remember around the holidays, however. Research also shows that kindness can also offer competitive advantages for your career. Here are reasons –beyond just being a good person –to increase your kindness.
Effective leaders are likeable
Kindness is a leadership trait. Those who reach high levels in an organization don’t get there by being cold and difficult. In a survey of 51,836 leaders, a tiny percentage –just one in every 2,000 –were rated at the bottom quartile in terms of likability but in the top quartile in terms of overall leadership effectiveness. Be kind and likable to be a leader.
Kindness is linked to creativity
Creativity is a competitive edge for employees, and it doesn’t happen by accident. Multiple studies show that “respectfully engaging with other organizational members can augment creativity for individuals and teams.” Being kind to your colleagues – or what researchers call “respectful engagement” – is related to creative behavior at both the individual and team levels.
Creativity, in turn, is a crucial soft skill that will help keep you relevant as the world of work changes.
Your reputation is your resume
Kindness isn’t just a one-time act. Over time, how you treat others builds a reputation. A way to develop a bad reputation at work is to take credit for another person’s work and being difficult to work with. Giving credit where it is due, recognizing others and being kind will become an extension of your resume.
Kindness attracts others
The easiest way to turn off an employer? Being a jerk. Even entrepreneurs who have had a history of bluntness and difficulty have had a change of heart about the effectiveness of being a kinder person. As Mark Cuban admitted, "people hate dealing with people who are jerks," Cuban wrote in a 2014 Entrepreneur article.
Kindness is its own reward – but it also can provide more. Be kind, and you might also be hired and be promoted.