The Power Behind Random Acts of Kindness: How Paying it Forward with Team Members Can Benefit Your Relationships, Your Customers, and Your Business


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By nature, people want to help others. Doing something meaningful for someone else is an endorphin-releaser that makes us feel good. It also starts a chain reaction. When someone does something nice for us, we want to perpetuate that good deed and do something nice for others.

One of my favorite commercials that so beautifully illustrates this principal is by Liberty Mutual. It shows how one small, simple act of kindness can spark other acts of kindness and demonstrates just how influential these gestures are in terms of their meaning and reach. In fact, this is such a big concept that there are now university programs and leadership organizations dedicated to the science of gratitude and its positive impact on communities and businesses.

Whether you call it doing the right thing or paying it forward, the concept of perpetuating random acts of kindness is incredibly powerful when it comes to engaging team members and having that positive energy spill over to the customers they serve. It is also something that managers struggle with when it comes to motivating and retaining their teams.

Truth be told, many of us tend to overthink our motivational efforts. We look for grand programs or complex initiatives that will spur teams to greater productivity and improved customer satisfaction when simple and sustained acts of recognition and appreciation (random acts of kindness) may be all that is needed to make team members feel valued and significant.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Smile and a Kind Word.

It is highly depressing to work in a place where no one smiles and no one is appreciated. It also hampers productivity and is reflected in customer satisfaction scores. Companies have an obligation to ensure that the mood of the team is a positive one because that mood directly impacts the customer experience. This means that managers need to lead by example and be a positive force in their departments, actively demonstrating the kind of behavior that they want to see from their teams.

Employ the Golden Rule.

We all know how we want to be treated – with respect and courtesy – and that should be the case in every interaction between managers and team members. People mirror the environment around them, so the manner in which managers treat team members is directly reflected in the way team members treat customers. If customer experience scores are low, it might be worth it to take a step back and see if the management influence is a positive and respectful one.

Say Thank You.

Being appreciated is a core need and recognizing good deeds by team members is essential for positive team building. A simple yet heartfelt “thank you” goes a long way to making team members feel appreciated and valued, whether it is delivered verbally or via card or email. Be sure not to diminish the thank you by following it with a critique of their performance in other areas, though (i.e. “You did a great job here, but…”). Let the “thank you” stand on its own for maximum power.

Praise in Public.

The old adage of praising in public and criticizing in private is one of the most reverential behaviors a manager can emulate. Share good works loudly and proudly with the team but keep performance issues strictly between the manager and the individual team member.

Be a Positive Force.

Never underestimate a manager’s influence and the power that the trickle down effect has on a team. A positive attitude and demeanor will be felt just as strongly as a negative, demeaning approach but team members and their customers will benefit most from the former.

We all have the power to positively influence our teams and our customers for the greater good. Check out the following articles for additional information about the science of leadership and what it can mean to you and your organization.

How to Tap the Power of ‘Thank You’ |

Career Coach: The power of ‘thank you’

What Is Management Leadership’s Role in Motivating Employees? | Small Business –

The New Science of Leadership: An Interview with Margaret Wheatley

The Three Fundamentals Of Effective Leadership –

13 Characteristics Of Bad Bosses – Careers Articles

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Teresa Sinel
Teresa Sinel is the Director of Operations, Analytics and Innovation for VIPdesk, the award-winning pioneer of home-based virtual customer care solutions for global brand leaders committed to enhancing their brand experience. Serving over 40 client programs and 10 million customers, VIPdesk specializes in delivering Concierge Programs, Contact Center Services, and loyalty programs for national brand leaders in the travel, auto, financial services, real estate and retail industries.


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