Random Acts of Kindness (Let’s Get Back to Good)
The other day a commercial ran on television for a Canadian organization called People for Good (www.peopleforgood.ca). They also run billboards, newspaper ads, and signs at bus shelters; they even have a smartphone/tablet app. They describe themselves this way.
“Canadians are internationally known for being nice, yet you wouldn’t know it when you’re out and aboot. We’re encouraging Canadians to do everyday good deeds because frankly, our social fabric needs some mending. We’re People For Good, a non-profit started by a media company and an ad agency in 2011. You could call us a charity. Only we’re not asking for money. Our goal is to make Canada a kinder place by giving you the inspiration to go out and do some good of your own.”
Please take a moment to view People for Good’s outstanding and impactful television ad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbMDgWm8bDg
People for Good, is hardly alone. There are countless organizations working to knit kindness and civility back into our social fabric. A small sample of the groups includes:
Pay It Forward www.payitforwardfoundation.org
Random Acts www.therandomact.org
1,000 Acts http://1000acts.ca
K-W Acts of Kindness Day www.kwcf.ca/kindness
In addition to the websites, there are hundreds of articles and books. Canada’s own Neil Passricha and his global best-selling series, including The Book of Awesome speaks to the same need to slow down and seek out life’s little joys. YouTube and Vimeo offer hundreds of videos featuring amazing acts of human kindness caught on tape. Apps like iDo Good Deeds and Acts of Kindness add to the trend. Events like Endure4Kindness (E4K) and Random Acts of Kindness Days in Kitchener-Waterloo and Windsor-Essex also address the need.
A recent article in Psychology Today, entitled “Let's Stop Being "A-Holes" to Each Other!” described it like this.
“As a society, our sense of empathy and kindness toward others has diminished. Our connection with individuals has lessened and our desire to help the person next to us is not what it used to be. Regardless of what's fueling this shift in our society, I do believe that there is a simple solution. We have to make the effort to be nicer to each other. The next time you feel like yelling at the slow driver on the road, imagine that the person in the car is your mother or your wife. Ask yourself how you would feel if your son or daughter was on the receiving end of what you were dishing out. Maybe it’s time all of us put ourselves in someone else’s boots, be kind and make a difference in the lives of others.”
How do we knit the kindness and civility back into the many relationships that shape our condominium communities? An inventory of the all the key relationships might be a place to start.
Residents <-----> Residents
Board <-----> Residents
Board <-----> Management
Management <-----> Residents
Management <-----> Contractors
Management <-----> Staff
Looking at the relationship inventory, it’s clear that many people have a role in making the average condominium community a kinder place.
A more empathetic approach for owners and residents may mean demonstrating respect for one’s neighbours: keep noise to a minimum; be a responsible pet owner; keep expectations reasonable, and avoid “us versus them” mentalities. Property managers should listen patiently to a resident’s concerns with a view to finding, if possible, a solution rather than placing obstacles in the path of achieving a resolution.
Boards and management have a clear duty under the Act to ensure that residents comply with the Act and the corporation’s legal documents, but firmness can be coupled with civility rather than rudeness and authoritarian behavior. Brookfield expects its employees to be diplomatic, courteous, respectful and empathetic in all client relationships. It may be challenging in instances where we are obliged to achieve compliance with statutory requirements but it can certainly be done.
The board has to direct management, and management has to see that contractors and staff perform and deliver value. However, these relationships don’t have to be shaped by harsh and counter-productive master-servant perspectives. We can communicate our expectations with clarity, reasonableness and mutual respect, and we can work to motivate people to perform rather than coercing them to do so, or by condescending to them. No one performs well in a hostile environment more fitting of Dickens and Scrooge.
At Brookfield Condominium Services, we understand that we are managing communities and homes, not buildings and units. We understand that the social fabric of condominium communities requires attention too. Our goal is to make the lives of our residents better. Condominium living is a shared experience for everyone to enjoy. Each of us can make it better for all by being considerate of others.
If we all pledge to treat one another the way we’d like to be treated, we can make a difference!
Written by Rudy Petershofer