Monday, October 23, 2017

Kindness Challenge 2013 – Day 2

Cause: I was at the gym, working out (YES! I really do that on occasion), and there was a gentleman behind me  talking to someone else about things to do in our small town. I was trying very hard not to listen in to the conversation, but he wasn’t getting a great deal of help from his conversation partner, and it was obvious he was the “new guy in town”! I felt badly that he wasn’t getting the information he needed, so I stopped my workout and politely stepped over to the two of them and offered my assistance. The gentleman’s name was Reggie, and he was looking for a Chess Club. I smiled, recognizing synchronicity at work, and told him that while I could give him specifics about the club here, I could tell him where and when it meets each week.  I also suggested he ask for Karl when he got there. My husband is a regular at the club, and loves to play anyone new.

Effect: Reggie was excited to know that there was a club, and that there was someone there rated in the 1800 range. It also helped that he had a name to refer to when he got there – it helps break the ice when you arrive at the door of a group where no one knows you.

I was thrilled to be able to help a fellow newbie, and quite amused that the opportunity that presented itself was one I could help so thoroughly with.

Leadership Ties: Leaders who never leave their offices rarely are given the opportunity to hear employees or co-workers asking questions or talking with each other to try to find out more information and/or look for possibilities to improve their work lives. Nor are they given openings for personal interaction.  Your co-workers are forever grateful when you are out and about, and authentically happy to help wherever you can, even if it isn’t related to work.

I remember one day when a young supervisor was walking down the hall, in the opposite direction I was walking. Tears were streaming down her face, and she was trying desperately not to sob out loud. We were close to my office, so I quickly invited her in and offered her a chair and a bottle of water. She sat for quite a while as she struggled to compose herself.  Once she was breathing normally, I quietly asked if there was something I could do for her. She confided that she was having difficulty with a peer who viewed their working relationship as a competition, and was behaving unethically, from her perspective. She didn’t know how to handle it, and was so frustrated she was ready to hand in her resignation. She and I talked for quite a while, and I offered to coach her through the situation, and a strong and lasting relationship was born.

On one hand, it could have been interpreted that I interfered in a situation I should have left alone. On the other hand, the company retained a valuable employee who has gone far over the last ten years – all because I showed a kindness to someone I barely knew who was in distress.

Have you been given an opportunity to show kindness to someone by hearing a question, a conversation, or observing a need for compassion? What did you do?

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