For years I’ve coached clients to generally be nicer – to “take the high road,” “avoid stepping down to someone else’s level,” and “be your best self.” And I still believe that nice is nice…except when it isn’t. There are times when nice is the wrong approach. And there are reasons why, sometimes, you shouldn’t be so nice:

  1. People will take advantage of you – If you keep giving in and never seem to get your way. If you offer your colleagues opportunities or resources, and never get offers in return. If you let your team members slide on accountability and they keep sliding – then people are taking advantage of you and you’re simply being too nice.
  2. Sometimes tough love is necessary – When people don’t feel accountable for what they say they’re going to do and they feel like they can get away with anything…they often will get away with anything. There are times when what is needed is a push – albeit a gentle supportive push – when being too nice will let your staff stay in a rut.
  3. No one takes you seriously – If you never display disappointment or frustration, if you always respond like everything is ok, if you don’t push back or question or say “no” – your staff (and colleagues) will stop considering your input, needs, and perspective.
  4. You’re letting things slide – Constructive feedback is essential for growth, and if you are always nice, then you’re probably not having the tough conversations or giving the tough feedback. And if your team doesn’t know what they need to improve on, chances are they won’t (and can’t) improve.
  5. Nice isn’t always real – And as important as it is to be nice, to take the high road, and to be your best self, it’s even more important to be real. People follow leaders who share their humanness – their strengths and their weaknesses, their niceness and their roughness.

Throw out what you know about niceness, and don’t always be SO nice. What do you think?
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