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The Kindness-at-Work Manifesto

10/25/2012 04:39 pm ET | Updated Dec 25, 2012

It has recently come to my attention that some of the most loving, passionate, well-intentioned people in the world have a tendency to treat their co-workers rather unkindly -- especially during times of stress or on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.

And so, in an effort to restore a Culture of Caring to organizations everywhere. It is my honor to present to you the Kindness-at-Work Manifesto -- 40 daily opportunities to go beyond the imperfections of your co-workers and rise to a place of uncommon goodness.

Where does it begin? With your intention to maintain your commitment to kindness any time one of your co-workers does not.

CHOOSE KINDNESS WHEN YOUR CO-WORKERS:

1. Forget to acknowledge you for a job well done
2. Take credit for something they had little to do with
3. Don't reply to your emails
4. Talk behind your back
5. Eat the last cookie

6. Withhold vital information
7. Expect you to work on the weekends
8. Forget to send you the agenda
9. Make an impossible request on you at the end of the day
10. Criticize you for not responding to their email when the item they wanted you to read was the 93rd item on the list

11. Don't let you finish a sentence
12. See the glass not as half empty, or half full, but cracked
13. Have no clue how to listen
14. Preface their regular attempts to criticize you with "Do you have a moment? I'd like to share some feedback with you"
15. Arrive late to every meeting

16. Talk to the boss about your shortcomings before airing it out with you, one-on-one
17. Expect you to cover for them every time they do a half-assed job
18. Start humming Bee Gee songs with no warning
19. Expect you to "do the math" every time your team goes out for lunch, then forget to calculate the tip and the tax when they leave too little cash for their part of the meal
20. Seek competition instead of collaboration

21. CC you on more emails than the U.S. Tax Code has corporate loopholes
22. Think you're an idiot
23. Forget to ask how you are after your operation
24. Rarely look you in the eye
25. Make up phony excuses why they didn't return your phone call

26. Start talking about their new ringtone as if it was the Holy Grail
27. Think they know more than you do
28. Worship data
29. Talk about their old LSD experiences every time you say the word "watermelon"
30. Only express kindness when they want something from you

31. Forget to forgive you for an old mistake you made
32. Ask you to help them start a blog at 5:30 p.m.
33. Give you bad information regularly, then wonder why you're late with whatever it is they expect from you
34. Think they are closer to God than you because they went to a yoga class last February
35. Invite you to brainstorming sessions that are nothing more than their veiled attempts to get you to praise their pet ideas

36. Send you emails with emoticons
37. Think they're your friend because they friended you on Facebook
38. Enter into every conversation with you as if they were late for a meeting with a more important person
39. Never return the books they borrow
40. Think you're not committed because you don't work 90 hours a week

Of course, the above 40 items don't tell you how to be kind -- they only name the occasions where kindness is missing. But guess what? No one needs to teach how to be kind. You already know how to be kind.

Your next step? Choose one of the 40 opportunities above and be conscious of it all next week. Then, when one of your co-workers manifests that behavior, choose kindness.

Mitch Ditkoff is the president of Idea Champions and author of the very popular Heart of Innovation blog. He likes what the Dalai Lama said when asked what his religion was: "My religion is kindness."