Yesterday, the weather was sunny and beautiful, so I took my dog, Big Karma, and headed outside to make a sidewalk chalk mural! The message I wrote and drew was:
“Your little kind words help others grow and blossom!”
This is true for everyone. When we speak kindly to people, we create the conditions that make it possible for them to try new things, learn, grow and gain confidence. It's especially true when you are wearing your Leader Hat, whether at work, at home or in the community. When you have your Leader Hat on, your words carry more weight, and have even more of an influence on how people think and feel about themselves. On the other hand, unkind words stick in peoples’ minds and become the negative, unkind self-talk so many struggle with...especially if they were spoken by a leader.
Today, here are some suggestions for speaking kindly!
1. Please…Say “please”and “thank you” when asking people to do things! (And no, people won’t be less likely to do what you ask of you ask them kindly, they will be more likely to!) Thank you!
2. Before you use a word (or words) think about how they will make others feel. If you aren’t sure others will feel good about them, ask the other person, or choose different words.
3. Actively look for things to genuinely compliment people about! And don’t forget that complimenting someone’s effort is just as important as complimenting the end results!
4. Smile and use a kind tone of voice! Most of communication is non-verbal, so pointing an angry finger or using a sarcastic, condescending tone speaks just as loud (or louder) than whatever words you are saying.
5. Voice your disagreement kindly. There is no problem with disagreeing with someone. Unless you want to, you don't have to say silent. You can state your point of view kindly in a way that doesn't denigrate someone, their opinion or beliefs. Focus on explaining yourself and what you think and feel instead of on the other person.
Remember, the words that you speak, especially when you have your Leader Hat on, often stay with people for years. And they influence your - and others' - actions. Unkind words can lead to unkind actions. You little kind words can lead to kind actions instead!
What suggestions do you have for helping people speak kindly? I'd love to know! Please post them in the comments! I’ll be posting other tips and tricks on how to have kind conversations (even when you are angry) this whole week, so please keep checking back frequently! Thank you!
For more on Speaking Kindly and the Three Key Speak Kindly Practices, please see Chapter 5 of The Kind Leader! You can also sign up for The Kind Leader Guided Book Club Fall Community Cohort starting on September 5th! We'd love to have you!