Kindness and compassion at work and elsewhere

meta-blog by David

Minding the Workplace

Dear readers, I’ve collected six previous pieces on kindness and compassion at work and elsewhere. Consider it food for thought as we enter the holiday season!

Valuing kindness over emotional intelligence in today’s workplace (2016) — “For years I’ve exhorted the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. But Bariso’s piece reminds us that a high EQ isn’t enough. By contrast, Rex Huppke, writing for the Chicago Tribune, suggests that kindness and being ‘a decent human being’ will contribute to better, more successful workplaces . . .”

Not-so-random acts of kindness for the non-saintly among us (2015) — “Last November, I was crossing the street near Boston’s Faneuil Hall when I saw a man huddled in a blanket, shuffling past me in the opposite direction. I caught a glimpse of his eyes for only a second, but I could see a lot of sadness in them. When I got…

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A 12-step program for compassion

working with compassion

Minding the Workplace

Karen Armstrong is a noted author on religious affairs. Her latest book is Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life (2010), a mix of faith, philosophy, and self-help. In it, she offers a 12-step program to help make the world a more compassionate place:

  • “Learn About Compassion”
  • “Look at Your Own World”
  • “Compassion for Yourself”
  • “Empathy”
  • “Mindfulness”
  • “Action”
  • “How Little We Know”
  • “How Should We Speak to One Another?”
  • “Concern for Everybody”
  • “Knowledge”
  • “Recognition”
  • “Love Your Enemies”

This is not easy stuff. Armstrong’s program requires introspection, honest self-evaluation, and conscious effort. Perhaps I’m betraying my own limitations here, but I do believe that folks who attain the final step of loving their enemies should be designated junior saints, or at least get a certificate!

Connecting to work

In the U.S., we are so used to associating work with performance, productivity, and competition that the introduction of a term like compassion into…

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Imagining the “compassionate mind” at work

goodness its work

Minding the Workplace

In a thoughtful, compelling piece on the “compassionate mind,” Dr. Emma Seppala draws together a wealth of research and analysis on the role on compassion — defined “as the emotional response when perceiving suffering and involves an authentic desire to help” — in advancing the human condition. Here’s a short snippet of a piece that deserves a full read:

Compassion may have ensured our survival because of its tremendous benefits for both physical and mental health and overall well-being. Research by APS William James Fellow Ed Diener, a leading researcher in positive psychology, and APS James McKeen Cattell Fellow Martin Seligman, a pioneer of the psychology of happiness and human flourishing, suggests that connecting with others in a meaningful way helps us enjoy better mental and physical health and speeds up recovery from disease; furthermore, research by Stephanie Brown, at Stony Brook University, and Sara Konrath, at the University of Michigan, has shown that it…

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How does “mainstream indifference” undermine compassion and dignity at work?

goodness at work

Minding the Workplace

In The Rapture of Maturity: A Legacy of Lifelong Learning (2004), home-brewed philosopher Charles D. Hayes (and one of my favorite authors) writes about how “mainstream indifference” fuels a lack of compassion and kindness in our society:

Mainstream indifference is a form of ignorance born of inattention and apathy. Depending solely upon appearances, it is fed by pettiness and a gravitation toward whatever seems easiest. . . . Mainstream indifference is devoid of compassion; it’s a hostile. authoritative, and testosterone-laden environment where the weak are ridiculed and the poor are held in contempt regardless of the circumstances of their plight.

Hayes concludes that “indifference is a spiritless sidestepping of responsibility and a serious impediment to achieving authenticity.”

Applying Hayes’s words to the world of work, they resonate. Whether we’re talking about workplace bullying, long-term unemployment, severe income inequality, dysfunctional and stressful work environments, or a host of other challenges, indifference…

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Two years on

one blogger on blogging

The Slow Academic

The Slow Academic turns two today. It’s difficult to sum up two years of blogging without resorting to metrics. Readily available figures include number of readers, most popular posts, the date of the best (most) views ever, numbers of followers and likes, average word length of posts, most popular day and hour for reading, and more. These figures can be viewed by day, week, month, year and all time. I’ll spare you. Writing a post about this data runs counter to the ethos of slow academia, which in this case would be something like: share what matters.

Thinking about why I blog, I read veteren bloggers Inger Mewburn (thethesiswhisperer) and Pat Thomson’s (patter) (2013) article Why do academics blog?  This point resonated:

Academic blogging constitutes, in part, a community of practice which functions as both a ‘gift economy’ as well as a ‘virtual staff room’ ……

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