Humans are a generous species.
It doesn’t take a neuroscientist to know that doing nice things for people feels good. Now researchers say they have discovered that even thinking about doing something generous has real mood-boosting benefits in the brain.
What is generosity?
Generosity comes in many forms, from charitable donations to formal volunteering to helping a stranger to caring for your family and friends. What these and other examples have in common is that they involve “giving good things to others freely and abundantly”. Generosity appears to have especially strong associations with psychological health and well-being.
Being kind is contagious; it can propagate within social networks and workplaces. Therefore, generosity has benefits in the workplace, such as reducing the likelihood of job burnout.
Generosity in the workplace
A commitment to be kind can bring many important benefits. First, and perhaps most obviously, practising kindness will be immensely helpful to our colleagues. Being recognised at work helps reduce employee burnout and absenteeism, and improves employee well-being!
Receiving a compliment, words of recognition, and praise can help individuals feel more fulfilled, boost their self-esteem, improve their self-evaluations, and trigger positive emotions, decades of research have shown. These positive downstream consequences of compliments make intuitive sense: Praise aligns with our naturally positive view of ourselves, confirming our self-worth.
Being generous brings a sense of meaning because it involves investing in something bigger than ourselves. We draw inferences about who we are by observing our own behaviour, and our acts of kindness make us believe that we have what it takes to be a good person. In the remote workplace, where cultivating moments of joy is difficult, this may be a particularly important benefit that translates into long-term job satisfaction.
Giving compliments! Exchanging compliments can make us even happier than receiving them. Complimenting your team on their progress is an easy way to practice generosity.
Why is workplace generosity important?
Organisations benefit from actively fostering kindness. Where acts of kindness are the norm, the spillover effects can multiply fast. When individuals receive an act of kindness, they pay it back, research shows — and not just to the same person, but often to someone entirely new. This behaviour can lead to a culture of generosity in an organisation.
Being kind is an essential leadership skill that can rush through people, changing the culture of the workplace along the way!
This #WorldKindnessDay make sure to practise generosity and kindness in your workplace.