Kindness: What Makes a Great Technical Team

How do you quantify what makes a great working environment, a good team, and work worth doing? An important piece for me is kindness.

Kindness is Human

At the risk of speaking to some stereotypes here, kindness is incredibly important in teams where members often lack patience and social skills. It doesn’t have to hinder honesty, expedience, or effectiveness. In fact, showing a small amount of kindness in your daily interactions reminds the people you often work most closely with on otherwise dry, tactical topics that there’s more to work than just code or tech. It reminds people that both you and they are human, not software-delivering carbon units.

Kindness is Engaging

When you show a little kindness, maybe a bit of sympathy about how frustrating a specific framework or project is to the team, it allows people the opportunity to open up if they want to. By sharing a short, discrete moment where you’ve felt the same excitement or frustration for a technology, you’d be surprised how often it elicits candid conversations that you’d otherwise not have during normal sprints or reviews. It gives people the cue that it’s okay to be themselves a little.

Kindness is Strategic

Looking for a promotion? Counter to kissing ass with a boss, expressing a little kindness to everyone you work with signals to intelligent management that you pay attention to social cues and understand how to play well with others.

Again, the level of kindness you show shouldn’t detract from your efficiency or ability to be straightforward at work; it should enhance your efficiency by proactively smoothing the interactions you have with co-workers, partners, and other non-technical folks.

Kindness is Admirable

Everyone has bad days. It’s how we deal with them that signals to others how professional, reasonable, and capable you are when you get down to business. And let’s be honest…technology is a revolving door. The relationships you make at one organization can indefinitely benefit future positions you may hold. Just as honesty and effectiveness are qualities people remember, being unkind never gets you on the list of people that others want to carry with them to the next gig.

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