Is there a difference between being nice and being kind?

My daughters are one and two years old. They are beautiful, fun, smart, creative and the absolute joys of my life. They are also perfectly normal toddlers who test boundaries and are learning and growing every single day. My wife and I work on teaching them little things such as how to be told “No” with out losing your mind or crying (still working on that) as well as how to dress themselves, use the potty, etc.

While we work on the basics like the alphabet, but our biggest focus
right now is helping them learn how to be kind.

I believe kindness is one of the most important traits you can have, no matter what your job is, where your life takes you, or whom you interact with.  If you are kind that is by far one of the most important things. Think about it…lets say you are at a store and have a request that the salesperson can not meet. The way you will feel about the experience totally depends on whether or not the person is kind to you. Either way, for whatever reason you are not able to get what you want, but if the person treats you with kindness you will still leave with a good impression. If your manager has to give you negative feedback and if they do it with kindness then you will be more likely to take the feedback in a positive way and improve your work…which will ultimately positively impact your career.

So we have taught our girls through our actions and our words how to treat others, including yourself, with kindness. After hearing my wife remind our daughter to “please be kind” for the 19th time this morning I started thinking…is there a difference between being nice and being kind? Most people would say it is the same or use the terms interchangeably, but I believe there is a big difference.

Some people are nice because it’s what they are “supposed to do” or they do it because they have to…but not because it is what is in their heart. I have heard of people being called “fake nice” but I have never heard someone be called “fake kind”.

I believe being nice is what you do
but being kind is who you are.

I don’t want my girls being nice to each other just because I’m watching. I want them to treat each other with kindness because they understand the value of kindness and they want to share joy with another person.

In the workplace managers need the employees to treat everyone with kindness regardless of whom they are serving or who is watching. If employees only serve others with kindness when the manager is standing close by, then the team and the business will crumble quickly.

How do managers (and parents)
encourage kindness?

1. They reward it when they see it. Immediately.

If you see someone doing a behavior you want them to repeat then drop whatever you are doing (if possible) and compliment them.
It will have more of an impact when it’s fresh in their memory and they will want to repeat the behavior.

2. They model it themselves  – be an example.

This is HUGE. People will learn more from your actions  than your words. Is this well known advice?
Yes. Does every one need a reminder of it? Absolutely. When you need something, how do you ask your employee for it?
Are you respectful? Polite? Make sure your actions are modeling what you want done. Be aware.

3. Don’t ignore bad behavior.

In the same way, if you see something you want, then you should immediately praise it, but if you are seeing things you don’t want happening then you need to address it as quickly as possible. Just make sure you do the correcting in private.

Praise in public, correct in private. When you offer correction, do it in a respectful way. You don’t want to make someone feel bad but instead create a learning opportunity. Compliment them on a few things that you like about them or what they do and then present the situation to them and ask how they could have handled it differently and help them come up with a few ideas. When people come up with the solutions themselves in a positive way they are much more likely to actually implement them.

My challenge for you today is this, are you treating others with kindness?

What do you believe the difference between being kind and being nice? Let me know in the comments and thoughts on my facebook page (www.facebook.com/samglenn7)

Have a good week!

Sam

Sam Glenn's Postcard Club

“Sam Glenn delivered a memorable, rousing, infectious and educational message to our attendees.  He was the perfect closing session speaker, leaving our attendees energized with a “new” attitude.”

– Lorraine Okabe, Director of Education and Conferences, League of California Cities

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