Establish a culture of kindness

There’s a simple rule for organization-wide success, and for life in general — see the best in each other. On the most stressful day (especially on those days) remembering this mantra is a way to lift one another up and get back on the path to success.

And if you’re thinking, “that’s easier said than done,” you aren’t wrong.

It can be significantly easier to accomplish when you establish this code of conduct as an integral part of your culture — and not just a solution to a “right now” problem.

Counting culture fit as much as talent

As a leader, you make sure every candidate has the necessary skill set for the position. But it’s also critical that every hire fits within your cultural values. It’s your job to define and maintain those values with every single hiring decision and daily interaction.

At Flying Horse Farms, whether recruiting for permanent or seasonal staff, we establish each person’s ability to see the best in each other early in the interview phase.

It’s critical here at camp because our staff is not only required to work well with one another; they also must nurture and lead a community of young campers. We strive to bring staff members on-board who show empathy, consideration and kindness.

Showing, not telling

Every day we teach campers to treat one another with compassion, respect and love. If we can’t practice those same qualities in our own personal and professional lives, how could we possibly pass down those important values to hundreds of campers every year?

We draw inspiration from Plato’s enduring words, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

For our campers, that battle might be cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, blood disorders, kidney disease or gastrointestinal disease, but you can’t always tell what someone is going through just by looking at them.

For most people, the battles are external — but still deeply affecting. Some might be experiencing a family hardship, and others a financial crisis or personal loss.

Establish empathy first

Establishing a culture of kindness keeps the peace and sets your business up for success. The most positive and productive workplace is one in which employees make an effort to support and see the best in each another.

During your next workplace challenge or staff conflict-resolution make a point to establish empathy first; then everyone will be better equipped to cope with the existing obstacle, stressor or pressure.

At all times, look outside yourself to see challenging situations through the other person’s eyes. What you witness might surprise you. We are all more alike than different. And you just might recognize their personal struggle as a familiar one.

In those times, offer support, be kind and listen. In those moments, take a deep breath and step in to give assistance, a hug or a break.

It will go a long way toward creating a positive workplace — in which everyone can thrive.