Kindness & Compassion
The month of November is often known for ‘Movember’ – when men across Australia grow not-particularly-good-looking moustaches to raise awareness around men’s health issues including men's mental health.
And the month of November is also about kindness and compassion – with World Kindness Day on 13th November and World Compassion Day on the 28th.
While no-one would argue against the importance of kindness and compassion, their role in the workplace may be seen as a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘must have’. Yet evidence suggests otherwise.
What is compassion? It’s defined as empathy plus action. Empathy is the ability to sense and understand others’ feelings. If we then add insightful and responsive action where our motivation is to assist – an authentic desire to help - then that creates compassion.
In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review the authors discuss the vital roles of kindness and compassion in the workplace.
- Why do employees want to stay in a job? Largely because they feel they belong and are valued, and they have caring and trusting colleagues.
- Showing more compassion is associated with less likelihood of burnout. In other words, compassion can have beneficial effects not only for the receiver of compassion, but also for the giver. For those who are compassionate it can lead to a longer life by reducing risk of cardiovascular disease. It can help maintain cognitive function as we age and contribute to our overall levels of happiness and sense of wellbeing.
- Those who are generous and agreeable are more likely to be promoted. Leaders who are primarily focused on the wellbeing of their employees have employees with greater reported job satisfaction and greater trust in the organisation, which leads to improved retention. It also has been linked with improved employee job performance and better team performance.
Maybe above all, being kind and compassionate simply feels good. It opens us to the world and to other people. It connects us to each other. It expands our sense of who we are. And it’s important we don’t forget kindness and compassion towards ourselves and our vulnerabilities.
So in November, as we think about world compassion and kindness days, take a gentle breath in, and as you breathe out, nurture a sense of gentle kindness towards yourself and those around you.
Our world needs it.
Newport & Wildman can provide a confidential space to speak about your mental health and wellbeing. Reach out for a chat and know that anything discussed with your counsellor won’t be shared with your workplace. Call Newport & Wildman on 1800 650 204.
Stephen Malloch, Manager Clinical Consulting
 Trzeciak, Mazzarelli and Seppala (2023). Leading with Compassion Has Research-Backed Benefits. Harvard Business Review, February 27.