Be Clear, Be Kind, Be Flexible

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Proper, positive communication can make all the difference in a professional environment.

A particular piece of wisdom that was drilled into me from my youth is that the most important element of succeeding in any kind of interpersonal situation, be it professional or social, is kindness. Kindness opens doors, forms connections, fosters clarity, and a rainbow of other benefits. But what exactly does “kindness” actually entail, at least as far as the professional world is concerned?

To be kind in a professional sense is to be flexible in your thinking and actions, as well as understanding of the thoughts and situations of those around you. “Empathy” may be a better word for it, but I’m trying to put a life lesson together here. Anyway, everyone cherishes kind coworkers and supervisors. You want to be the person that can put a little smile on everyone’s face at the start of the work day. You don’t need to be an absolute master of social interaction, nor do you need to be incessantly positive to the point of being annoying. The best thing you can do is simply listen and pay attention.

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When a coworker has a concern, do your best to listen and internalize it. Try your best to offer solutions, but don’t get aggressive if those solutions aren’t what they’re looking for. Positivity can’t solve a problem in itself, but it can facilitate clearer thinking, and when clearer heads prevail, solutions tend to make themselves apparent. It’s also good to listen even during simple small talk. If you make a point of remembering the incidental details you hear, your coworkers will know you care about them and their opinions (which you should anyway).

I concede that it can be difficult to be positive all the time. It’s okay to opt for a low energy day, give yourself time to vent out any frustrations. After all, that’s another side benefit to being kind to your coworkers: they’ll be kinder to you.

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1 month ago