The pursuit of kindness

The Pursuit of Kindness

I’m not naturally a particularly tolerant or deliberately kind person.  It’s not something that I find easy.  I usually describe myself as a realist but the truth of the matter is that I might be closer to being a pessimist and I struggle to see the good in a situation.   It is something that I have been working at over the years but I am someone whose default position is NOT one where I am free with praise and encouragement.


This means that for me to be tolerant, supportive and kind to the people that I work with – takes a lot of deliberate effort and concentration.   It is something that I have to consciously and deliberately think about so that I am trying to reassure and help to motivate my colleagues.    Some days this works and other days it just doesn’t and I feel a little embarrassed about the way that I might have spoken to or interacted with people in a particular situation.

I was listening to a podcast recently from Simon Sinek who was talking about the power of kindness in the workplace.  Being a school leader/manager can be tricky.  I often find it difficult to find the line between being too harsh/ honest and too easy/walkover.   It’s a fine line to tread and I probably get it more wrong that right.   Especially when sometimes you have been covering all day for colleagues and still trying to get your work and admin done at the same time and still have to solve issues but are still expected to answer any queries both rationally and professionally when they come your way!


Check out a video by Simon Sinek about this 

For example, last week I had to give some feedback to some students on work they had handed in to me.   The quality of the work was not fantastic and I felt that the students had not spent as much time and effort on the work as they should have.  I was not sure how to get started as I was not happy with them.  I really wanted to shout a bit and get cross and show them how annoyed and disappointed I was but I realised that actually there was little impact in me trying to do this with them – it would only get them to be defensive.  So instead, against what I thought I wanted to do – I decided to try to be deliberately kind and focus on the positives and look at the issues as areas for improvement to help to fix and improve the piece rather than go on about negative things.    Many school students are struggling with their own mental health issues.  Covid has removed the resilience that many pupils would have built up over time in school and they have not learned the techniques to be able to deal with even the most basic setbacks.   Therefore, it is our job to try and manage both their reactions and how we deal with and support work that needs to be improved.

Developing a stance of being deliberately kind (when we probably would be more likely to not be) is not something which is easy.  It has massive limitations – as often we might not get to say what needs to be said but it does have a massive positive impact on those people that we meet and work with.  Sometimes the biggest impact of this is that it takes more time to be a constructive presence than it is to be negative.     But sometimes that it a price worth paying for the long term good of others.


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