“Kindness has a ten-word vocabulary.  One word – ‘Please.’  Two words – ‘Thank you.’  Three words – ‘I love you.’ Four words – ‘Can I help you?’  I stand with the Dalai Lama, who said, ‘My religion is very simple – it is kindness.’” – Joe Ehrmann

Amongst the words I aspire to have attributed to our company is “kind.”  I think it works in all seasons.  I think it breaks down walls.  Inspires goodwill and commitment.  It is a glue that holds things together in tough times.

“Please” acknowledges choice to me.  Every one of us has the choice of whether we participate.  Contribute.  Cooperate.  Engage.  A simple “please” respects that choice.  Saying please says you don’t take things for granted.  Sure, there is pay, responsibility, and accountability in all transactions, but “please” acknowledges that a customer doesn’t have to buy from us, a vendor doesn’t have to work for us, and a teammate is an agent – free to move on to another team.  To leave out “please” is to communicate entitlement that so many resent these days.  Please is a good doorway to kindness.

“Thank you” is the completion of “please.” I’ve read frequently and written in notes that “gratitude” is at the base of good leadership.  The most effective leaders know that “teamwork makes the dream work.” No one is successful in isolation.  The more that we cultivate the awareness of how others work to serve us, add value to our offerings, and contribute to our success and survival, the deeper the appreciation for the others.  The trick is taking that appreciation from your head to your mouth.  “Thanks,” should be ready on your lips and sincerely expressed.  It heightens teamwork and friendship.  It certainly inspires the replication of help again.

“I love you.” I know that sounds touchy feely but let me explain how it can be appropriate.  Some people call love unconditional positive regard for another.  Unconditional positive regard means you want the best for someone.  Unconditional positive regard means you are inclined to team up with someone.  Unconditional positive regard means you put trust in the gap.  Unconditional positive regard means you can trust the situation to get to a better place.  Having positive regard is the beginning of being able to say you care enough to say, “I love you.”

“Can I help you?” A hand of service.  An ear to listen.  A willingness to assist in shouldering a burden.  Picking up spilled lumber.  Helping get an extensive workload finished.  Adding ideas and solutions to a problem.  All of us are smarter and stronger than one of us.  When you can help, offer to help, and do help, you are being an agent of kindness.

I know that I can step up my kindness game.