February: The month where everything is washed in a rosy glow, hearts are aflutter, grocery store aisles are flooded with chocolate, and every ad has something to say about the magic of romance. And, while you’ll never see a Connector turn down a box of chocolates or glass of champagne, we think this season of love should be a celebration of something bigger than yet another rom-com cliché. That’s why we want to focus on Valentine’s Day’s sister holiday, Random Acts of Kindness Day.
We don’t feel like it’s a stretch to say the world feels like a bit of a mess right now. With polarizing conflict dominating headlines and social media timelines, it’s easy to feel discouraged—and that negativity can certainly be contagious. But here’s some good news: According to Stanford psychologist Jamil Zakil’s research, kindness can also be infectious. After a series of experiments, Zakil and his team found that not only is kindness contagious, but it can also transcend mere imitation to revolutionize how people interact with themselves and others. Zakil writes:
Someone who is surrounded by grandstanding and antagonism will tend towards hostile and exclusionary attitudes herself. Someone who instead learns that her peers prize empathy will put more work to empathize herself, even with people who are different from her. By emphasizing empathy-positive norms, we may be able to leverage the power of social influence to combat apathy and conflict in new ways. And right now, when it comes to mending ideological divides and cultivating kindness, we need every strategy we can find.
So, if you’re really trying to transform the culture of your organization, we have a challenge for you: be kind. Sure, that may sound a little vague and almost too easy to make a difference, but research and personal experience demonstrate that simply isn’t true. Whether you draw inspiration from the examples the Connectors share in this video or you decide to freestyle your own idea, we encourage you to take a look around your office and pick one person—just one—and do one thing this coming week to let them know you value them. The kindness revolution starts with you. Click here to learn more about Kindness in the Workplace.