The Soft Stuff: reclaiming kindness for the world of work

Matt Dean




So I’m now the bloke who wrote the book about kindness at work

It’s been hard work and I’ve learnt heaps – it’s clarified many strands of thought. There still aren’t any easy answers, but my five top line thoughts are:

  • The world seems to need the book: kindness seems entirely absent from public life today.  Work’s a portal to public life, somewhere we interact with people outside our bubble – somewhere we can try new things.
  • Workplaces can only change when each of us accepts that noticing and talking about the impact all of us have, being considerate of and supporting colleagues, improves things for everyone, on many levels.  That’s kindness by the way.  ‘If not you, who?  If not now, when?’
  • Actually changing how we behave, breaking out of our patterns of normal - which typically focus on achievement and delivery - is incredibly difficult (and made no easier by potential game changing events like life threatening illness).  Sleepwalking is our natural state.
  • Seeing that everything good comes from within you could be your catalyst.  Or maybe not; my own realisation lay worthless and unused inside me for nearly a decade.  The place good comes from is deeper down, it’s below our patterns of normal, at a level we don’t often operate on.
  • To change ourselves, our work and possibly even our society, we have to dig deep and work out our why. We’ll only achieve that purpose if we start being kind – first to ourselves, then to others.   Most importantly though, you’re going to have to change your daily routine becoming more conscious and mindful needs practice.

The book’s got tools and, of course, stories.  By all means buy the book.  Or maybe I can come and talk to you?