Word of the Year: Balance
February 22, 2019
Word of the Year: Health
February 27, 2019

What is it?

I was just about to meet with a Purple Ink client when my co-worker, Caitlin, remarked: “You’re going to like Jack; he’s just a really good person.” I considered what “just a really good person” would look like. Jack and I had a productive meeting about training workshops for his team. He was unaware of the added bonus for me – mental notes on this really good person for a blog on the virtue of goodness.

A GotQuestions blog on the topic of goodness describes goodness as virtue in action. Good people have a reputation for moral or righteous behavior. The Greek word for goodness is agathosune, which means “uprightness of heart and life.” What a great way to describe a good person and a great ideal to shoot for.

A genuinely good person is good on the inside (heart) and the outside (life). In a good person there is no duplicity. Agathosune is goodness for the benefit of others, not goodness simply for the sake of being virtuous. Goodness is unselfish and other-centered.

Really good people deeply embrace the insight of Francis of Assisi: In giving we receive. They command no attention and demand no reward. Why? Because they embody a conviction we all admire: Goodness is its own reward.

Who are the really good people in your workplace? More importantly, since goodness is virtue in action, what are the behaviors that deem them good and how can you emulate them?

How can you practice it?

Do your job earnestly and honestly: a full day’s work; your best effort; cutting no corners; admitting mistakes; integrity of results.

Always give credit where it is due. Seek no selfish gain for yourself.

Look for the goodness in others. Name it. Affirm it.

Participate generously (and perhaps anonymously) in your company’s philanthropies, fundraisers, charitable efforts.

Say only good things about co-workers. Refrain from office gossip.

Respect the dignity of every co-worker, paying no heed to status or job title.

Make the well-being and just treatment of every employee your concern, on every rung of the company ladder.

Practice inclusion in all areas of the workplace, giving every employee or team member a place and a voice at the table.

Take every opportunity for care and kindness toward co-workers: visit them when they’re sick; help them in crisis; send cards and/or money when needed.

Recently I read a spiritual meditation that elaborated on the metaphor of a spilled glass of water. The metaphor applies well to the virtue of goodness. When a glass of water spills, it seems to increase in volume and seep into everything in its path. It soaks table, cloth and dishes. It runs down the sides and spreads over the floor, touching everything. Goodness is something like that. It cannot be contained. It drenches the people and places around it, inspiring even more goodness in its wake. If you have the good fortune to work with really good people, you are surely a better person to have known them.

Denise McGonigal
Denise McGonigal
Denise is a Trainer for Purple Ink and co-author of The JoyPowered Family. With Learner in her top 5 Strengths, she is passionate about continuous learning both for herself and others.

1 Comment

  1. erin says:

    it is so interesting and helpful to see “goodness” defined. this explanation brought new life to such an overused term. what a special, important quality. i just shared this in my MOMS group website because for many of us Moms, our workplaces follow us around everywhere 🙂 and i thought this message was so encouraging in that respect.

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