Insider Insight: Committing to Kindness in the Workplace and Every Day

Oct. 3, 2023
Kindness may be considered a soft skill, but its impact within a workplace can be significant.

While there are many ways we can make the public transit industry better for the communities we serve and people we work with, there is one simple concept that has the power to create transformative change: Kindness.

I experienced the power of kindness on a personal level after being consistently bullied in junior high school, when someone who saw what was happening let me know I was not alone and empowered me to ultimately overcome the situation. This random act of kindness from another person had a lasting impact on me and was a foundational event that inspired me to spread kindness as part of my life’s mission, leading me to become an anti-bullying advocate, passionate volunteer and speaker on kindness at conferences and events throughout North America.

I have since learned the power of kindness beyond the individual level – kindness has power on an organizational level and even a systemic level, which we see every day in public transit. In the workplace, kindness has become identified as a key leadership trait and value that is now emphasized in organizations and culture studies. People are not only drawn to work in organizations that value kindness, but studies also show they leave workplaces with toxic cultures and a lack of kindness.

One way we can lead by example and show kindness in our workplaces – and in our industry as a whole – is through mentorship. Mentorship is kindness in action. Sharing lessons learned, tips and advice, listening to others and working through challenges together can have an instrumental impact on both mentors and mentees. Sometimes the best leaders and mentors have no idea they are actually mentoring those around them; they are just leading by example and inspiring others to follow suit.

Public transit is kind by nature, providing people with opportunity, hope and the ability to connect with others while also being kind to environment and creating cleaner air for everyone. Our frontline operators are some of the most amazing stewards of kindness, as ambassadors of our cities, communities and culture. We often see simple acts of kindness all around us when we ride transit, such as folks helping others onto the bus, into seats, sharing information on stops and helping others not even on the bus.

A commitment to kindness is contagious and it can start with simple basic kindness to others. Try performing a random act of kindness next time you’re out and about, like helping a stranger, paying for someone’s coffee or dropping off some supplies at the local food bank. In the workplace, it’s as easy as starting by showing your appreciation for those around you, saying thank you and recognizing others or you can go a step further and rally your team to support a cause you care about.

In the spirit of World Kindness Day on Monday, Nov. 13, let’s make a point to keep kindness at the forefront. Even a small effort can make a big impact, and every day is an opportunity to change someone’s tomorrow.

About the Author

Mike Bismeyer | Director of Sales and Client Services, BetterFleet

Mike Bismeyer, currently resides in Abbotsford, BC. Bismeyer graduated from Mission Senior Secondary, Class of 1987, and proceeded to work for Canada Safeway for 21 years, while simultaneously operating his own DJ company for 20 of the 21 years.

Now in his 15th year in public transit, Bismeyer currently serves as director of sales and client services, for BetterFleet. Previously, he spent four years with Proterra, and 11 years with Seon- a Safe Fleet Brand.

In all roles, Bismeyer has managed several different geographic territories, and held positions in sales, national accounts, sales management and as director of sales.

Bismeyer was an integral part of the inception of the United to End Bullying (UEB) Initiative, founded at Seon in 2013. He has continued to be a speaker and passionate advocate, speaking at schools, conference and workplaces, throughout North America every year, about kindness initiatives, anti-bullying, mentoring and how we can all make a difference every day.

Bismeyer is also an active member of the “Cycling for Diversity” team, a regular speaker with their panel and participant in their annual ride, promoting Diversity, Inclusion and Kindness. 

Bismeyer is a Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) Board of Directors Member and currently participates on the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Bus Safety Committee, the APTA Diversity, Inclusion Council, the CUTA Young Emerging Leaders Task Force and is a regular contributor on the "Transit Unplugged" podcast with his segment “Mike’s Minute."

In his spare time, Bismeyer is an avid runner, even after receiving his new hip in 2018, and an 80’s music aficionado.

In 2021, Bismeyer was named as a Savita Shah Award Recipient- Awarded for Kindness, Compassion and Advocacy- through the Mahatma Gandhi Canadian Foundation as well as a recipient of the CUTA Individual Leadership Award for Excellence, for his continued advocacy. Bismeyer was also nominated in his community in early 2022, for the Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards, Champion of Diversity Category.