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Kindness as the Most Important Productivity Enhancement

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Kindness as the Most Important Productivity Enhancement

Last week was exhausting. At the same time, it provided a thoroughly uplifting experience.
 

I had the privilege of introducing the essential tenets and fundamentals of corporate finance to a group of energetic graduate students in communications. It was a week full of dialogue, and more than a few laughs. Questions were asked and concepts discussed in an environment free of judgement or assessment. By the end of the first day we were unpacking math that some in the class had not touched before, and by the end of the week we were successfully applying all those lessons. Extensive dialogue and transparency virtually eliminated anxiety as new and important concepts were internalized. 

Can we achieve a similar process and outcome at work? I offer that we certainly need to.
 

Researchers B. Muschalla et al. speak about the significance of job anxiety. They write, “The job anxiety we observed most frequently was elevated levels of cognitive anxiety such as existential worries and ideas of exploitation at work.” This job anxiety can result in extended mental health leaves, and worse. At the very least, I would argue, job anxiety will inhibit one’s ability to take risks of innovation; it will stifle productive dialogue, it will prevent useful and critical feedback even being heard, let alone listened to.

Related: Are You All Alone for Dinner?

We need people jumping out of bed with their hair on fire—looking forward to the day with excitement, in the full knowledge that something new will be learned, and that contributions will be valued. Too often, it seems, Sunday evening is a time of foreboding and anxiety. 

Yes, leadership involves demanding change and growth, and it means challenging the status quo. Leadership, however, requires kindness: sympathy, empathy, gentleness, and generousness of spirit, especially in an environment that requires a greater level of self-management and initiative taking. There is a direct link between net profit, productivity, and emotionally healthy workers. If you’re unsure about how this is going in your work environment, it may be time to get professional assistance to assess your situation and guide you on the path forward.

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