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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
Click here to leave a comment.
If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.
To discover more about why you shouldn’t be SO nice, contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to receive The Thoughtful Leaders™ Blog posts via e-mail and receive a copy of “Ending Leadership Frenzy: 5 Steps to Becoming a More Thoughtful and Effective Leader.”
Photo Credit: blickpixel/Pixabay.com
I don’t think being nice is the source of these pitfalls, any more than being the opposite of nice – mean, nasty, angry, inflexible, unsupportive – is an antidote to them. My argument is more about semantics, I suppose. I think there’s always room for nice, even when you set boundaries, expectations, uphold standards, enforce rules, etc.
Thanks for your comment, Rick. We couldn’t agree more with your statement that there is always room for nice. While the post was a bit tongue in cheek, there are times when taking a tougher stance is needed and can be more effective.