Merge's Blog

Tag Archives: compassion

Workplace lessons from the COVID contagion of kindness

As devastating and difficult as the COVID-19 world has been, the one seemingly silver lining to emerge from this pandemic is the contagion of kindness. Countless acts of generosity and thoughtfulness abound, and it has become increasingly evident that being kind is synonymous with strength and courage. Which is ironic. The world of work has usually viewed kindness differently, through the lens of weakness and naivety. Workplace norms often translate friendly, generous and considerate behaviour to mean one is indecisive or a pushover. While blunt, arrogant and curt often unfortunately implies results and profitability. This, of course, is unequivocally false.

Genuine kindness can often do more to further your career than your exceptional work ethic, or your results-focused determination, or your dogged persistence. Doing good work will always be a necessary baseline for your success, but it is your kindness – your empathy, your open-mindedness, and your treating others with respect – that will carry you further, faster. When you are kind, you build strong relationships that will stand firm in the years to come. So what are the workplace lessons that we can extract from the kindness pandemic that is currently afoot? I answer that question in my latest column in The Globe and Mail, published online yesterday, and due to go to print tomorrow.

Five ways being a kind person can help your career
kindness Continue reading

Are kindness and compassion necessary in leadership?

Photo credit: The Globe & Mail
Photo credit: The Globe & Mail

A colleague made me aware of this story about kindness and compassion that ran in The Globe & Mail in December.

Are Vancouver’s residents as cold as the icy sidewalks?

Ms. Rosemary Blomeyer is a visually-impaired German immigrant in her eighties who every day, twice a day, asks a passerby to hold her arm and walk her a few blocks to and from the restaurant where she has breakfast every morning. And every day, twice a day, someone obliges. Some are repeat volunteers but just as many are strangers. When asked how this is possible in a city where people are supposedly cold and unfriendly, Ms. Blomeyer replies, “People are nice; you have to talk to them first.” She tells about how there are people who want to help, but fear they will be late for work. She laughs, “Is your boss going to shoot you, I ask them. They change their minds. I think it’s a sort of insecurity in people. Tell them you walked a blind lady, I say. They’ll forgive you. Bosses here aren’t that awful, are they?'” Continue reading

It’s more important to be kind than clever

I was talking to a client the other day — a senior manager at an oil company in Calgary — about various issues he’s dealing with in his department, and something he said jogged a long-forgotten memory about a conversation with one of my mentors many years ago.  The manager said “It’s more important to be kind than clever”, which was virtually word-for-word what my mentor told me back in 1991, when I had just become a team leader for the first time.

“It’s more important to be kind than clever.”

In 1991, one of my employees inadvertently made a factual error in a presentation she was giving to our management team.  Unfortunately and much to her chagrin, it was a senior executive member who caught her blunder and pointed it out in front of everyone attending.  Continue reading