Tag Archives: kindness

Leading Through Exhaustion

Young woman in office looking exhaustedBy Kathleen Federici, MEd

As I hear stories from others, a common theme is exhaustion. The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us in some way or another and unexpected and rapid changes have left some in a state of fatigue. Not only are we dealing with the effects of the pandemic, but life goes on and things we don’t necessarily want to happen can and do, often without warning.

The universe has met me where I am  and emailed me an unsolicited article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, written by Denise Magner titled Your Career: Leading Through Emotional Exhaustion. I laughed when I saw this in my inbox because I have never received any email from the Chronicle of Higher Education previously and the timing made me shake my head as I am working through a personal challenge at the moment.

The article describes that if a leader is stressed, he or she still must  motivate and raise morale. How can this be possible when they are feeling the opposite?

The Mayo Clinic defines emotional exhaustion as “when stress begins to accumulate from negative or challenging events in life that just keep coming.” A mishandled conversation due to stress or exhaustion between a manager and an employee can do a lot of long-term damage. It is important to understand how others process information before you begin a heavy conversation. Get to know their side of the story before taking action. Be gentle. Recognize that one or two bad days do not negate contributions as a whole. No leader wants to lose a valuable employee, especially currently.

It’s normal to be exhausted and at times struggle with how to lead. Advice that I took from this article is to take one day at a time and be relatable. Do your best to be approachable. And remember we are all going through stuff, some heavier than others, so be gentle and practice empathy as you lead.

Kathleen Federici, MEd, is IPMI’s director of professional development.

Choose Kindness

Kindness community blog By Kathleen Federici, MEd

I witnessed an act of kindness about three weeks ago that has stuck with me. Kindness is everywhere. Sometimes, the act is so small we don’t allow ourselves to acknowledge it. Sometimes, the act is so large, we can’t allow ourselves to forget it.

With our world in crisis, kindness matters now more than ever.

In a past job, I had a company car and was required to take a defensive driving course every year. Three weeks ago, I was driving along my one lane, no passing zone road that connects the three townships that make up my city and all of a sudden this driver flew up the Pike and got so close to my bumper, I was actually nervous. My kids were in the car, and I just kept thinking, what the heck is this person doing? Is he going to hit me? The car was on my bumper for about a half-mile, which seemed like forever. We came to a red light and the driver quickly maneuvered around my car into a left turn lane, jumped out of his car, and ran to the car in front of me. And I kept thinking, what the heck is going on?

Of course, I turned off my radio and clicked my window down so I could hear the exchange. It turned out the person in the car in front of me left her cell phone in the store she had just visited. The on-my-bumper driver was a store employee who saw her leave the phone on the counter. Evidently, he desperately tried to catch her attention but she got into her car and left too quickly. So he grabbed his keys and chased her down to return her phone. Now, don’t get me wrong, I would have been more comfortable with less of a movie-style car chase, but to go that far to bring a customer back their phone was not something I have never witnessed before. It left me with a good impression of customer service and going that extra mile. The customer and employee did not know each other.

Kindness.org has a mission to educate and inspire people to choose kindness. Their research team, in collaboration with researchers at Harvard University, spent the past several months compiling a list of more than 1,000 acts of kindness. When COVID-19 brought our world to a halt, kindness.org saw an opportunity – and felt a responsibility – to investigate what kind acts are most effective now, in the middle of this crisis. The results are:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Take care of a family member who is sick.
  3. Cover your mouth when you cough.
  4. Make a donation to people hit especially hard by the economic shutdown.
  5. Cook a nutritious and delicious meal to share with your family.
  6. Buy groceries for someone.
  7. Arrange video visits with elderly relatives.
  8. Video call your parents, grandparents.
  9. Get groceries and other essentials for a neighbor.
  10. Tell a child what you’re proud of them for.

Let’s all work together to make the world a kinder place.

Kathleen Fedrici, MEd, is IPMI’s director of professional development.

The Stories We’ll Tell

IPMI Blog post 03-27-20By Kim Fernandez

Every so often, my dad would go into our family room and sit on the floor in between two giant, mustard-yellow fabric-covered, 1960s stereo speakers, lower the needle on a record, and just listen. He had three favorites: Juice Newton, Crystal Gayle, and Kenny Rogers.

Everybody liked Kenny Rogers back then but my dad really liked him, and one day, I asked him why. He told me that leaving a concert one night, he and my mom had circled behind the arena to get to the highway. There was a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk, eating a meal, and crouched down next to him was The Gambler himself, fresh off the stage. Two guys having a conversation on the street, economic class and social construct rendered totally irrelevant.

Kenny Rogers was a gifted musician, but it was his act of kindness that made my dad a lifelong fan. A lot of us would have had the same reaction. And I think kindness and respect have never been more important than right now.

We’re collectively facing some really hard stuff. We’ll come out the other side—we always do. When that happens, we’ll remember the tough moments and the stress, but the most cherished stories we tell will be of the kindnesses, from the people we know and those we’d never met before. I’m already hearing those stories as people rise to the very best versions of themselves and reach out to those around them. It’s not the stock ticker or the annual reports that come from this, but the men and women who figuratively crouch down on the street to make a human connection with someone who needs it. That’s what we’ll remember. Those are the stories that matter.

Kim Fernandez is IPMI’s director of publications and editor of Parking & Mobility.

Nice is Trending

Choose kindness By Shawn Conrad, CAE

One way I like to stay on top of things is to follow trends. I especially like to watch how issues are trending throughout the year. Current industry issues like Complete Streets, Vision Zero, regulating TNCs, or combating disabled parking  abuse are trending in many municipalities.  But I also follow trends in technology, sports, politics, travel, business, consumer attitudes, investments,  and even in the entertainment  business. Don’t judge me on that last one.

Following trends is more than just having things to talk about at work functions or family gatherings. I like the feeling of learning new things and researching items I know very little about to better understand why they’re gaining traction–though at times, some trends seem like the proverbial flavor of the month and can disappear as quickly as they appeared.

Lately, one trend that seems to be getting a lot of attention is kindness. There may be several reasons for kindness’s popularity but I’m seeing kindness trending in publications, blogs, TED Talks, social media, and even at the end of national newscasts. Acts of kindness seem to be a focus everywhere we turn.

Recently, I picked up a golf publication to find a feature article on golf’s kindest players. Players and many other golf industry employees measured how golfers treated each other, and branched out to the kindness of clubhouse employees, equipment manufacturers, sales reps, and even groundskeepers. Essentially, they were seeking those who displayed kindness when they weren’t on camera or in front of an audience. The magazine article mentioned that acts of kindness in golfing circles are trending up.

My hope is that parking professionals, especially parking enforcement officers, will be on the receiving end of the kindness trend as they go about their daily responsibilities. While parking professionals provide a  valuable service, interactions with customers can at times be trying–even unkind. It may be difficult to be kind to someone who is irate, but as history has it, Aesop, the ancient Greek storyteller, once said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” And it may even be contagious!

It’s cool to be kind–that’s a trend we should all follow.

Shawn Conrad, CAE, is IPMI’s CEO.