Tragedy of Nice– Nice Dudes Finish Last, Danger of Too Nice In Business: Fine Line Between– Nice, Too Nice, Jerk…

Business is highly-competitive, ruthless, cut-throat, take-no-prisoners… According to Bryant Urstadt; most executives are advised to be warriors and fight battles for their business… and study the winning secrets of Jack Welch… use tactics from ‘Art of War’, ninja techniques in ‘48 Laws of Power’It seem like the word ‘nice’ has disappeared from dictionary of business terms? It’s almost as if ‘nice’ has become synonymous for weak or indecisive.

So what is the value of nice in business? Is there a ‘return on nice’?According to Kim Garst; opinions differ on the value of being nice in business… and although there are many ways to define success, e.g.; revenue, profit, cash flow, performance, quality… there are also subjective measures of success, e.g; employee engagement, customer satisfaction, positive workplace environment…

All of which can lead to benefits, such as; recruiting top talent (people often choose a company because it’s a ‘nice’ place to work), increased productivity (when a worker is placed in a ‘nice’ environment they are much more engaged)… and positive public image (what employees, fans, and followers say about you on the Internet can make or break a business)… Social media bolsters brand value in a big way and it pays to be known as a ‘nice’ company…

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Many people think that being nice in business works… Not necessarily; too often ‘nice’ and competent people get passed up for promotions, instead the plum job goes to the prima donna or the person who plays politics... What nice people may not realize is that they are too nice, and that when things are too nice that can be bad…

According to Russ Edelman; the people in business who suffer from the ‘nice guy/gal syndrome’ are not achieving their true potential– nice people are often perceived as doormats and taken advantage of, they are too concerned about pleasing others, not making waves, they don’t stand up for themselves… the nice guy/gal is forever putting the oxygen mask on someone else before putting it on themselves…

In the article Nice Finish Last at the Office by Eve Tahmincioglu writes: When it comes to being a leader in a highly competitive situation or during tough times, ‘nice’ can be perceived as a sign of weakness, while being selfish and aggressive shows strength… According to Robert Livingston; being selfish makes a person seem more dominant and being dominant makes them seem more attractive as leader, especially when there is competition…

Researchers found that individuals who were selfless, kind– gained prestige, admiration… but, those who exhibited dominant personalities, i.e.; being self-interested, aggressive, manipulative… were viewed as having alpha status; they were ‘top dog’… As humans we are wired to respond to dominance in terms of who we perceive as leadership worthy, and on subconscious level people perceive– niceness as weakness…

Despite this most people seem to want to work with and for people who are nice… But when business becomes challenging, people look for individuals who are perceived to be– no nonsense, action oriented… whereas ‘nice’ individuals are perceived to be not tough enough to get the job done…

In the article Benefits of Being Nice in Business by Darren Dahl writes: It’s easy to think of the workplace as something like a battleground– place where only tough workers survive. But the truth is that no one wants to work in a tough, harsh, hostile work environment…

When people enjoy where they work and feel trusted and appreciated, they become more engaged and productive in their work… That in turn, leads to better results and better interactions with everyone from co-workers to customers… Also it’s easier to recruit great talent while keeping existing stars on board, through lower turnover…

According to Paul Spiegelman; business is about building relationships and treating people with kindness and respect… And the best way to build relationships is to be ‘kind’ and to show interest in, and compassion for the people you work and interact with. Ultimately that’s how you build trust and ‘trust’ is the single most important factor in business…

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In the article Danger of Being Too Nice in Business by Meridith Levinson writes: Being too nice is not just a problem for individuals; it’s also a problem for business… Employees who are too nice cost business time and money… In a survey of 50 CEOs, asked about the impact of ‘being too nice’ in their business; CEOs responded by saying that being too nice cost them eight percent of their gross revenues. In other words, if their company had been more aggressive, CEOs believed they could have earned more money…

Often managers who are too nice are reluctant to make decisions; they fear hurting people’s feelings if they don’t ask for feedback, so they include everyone in decision-making… that wastes time and can lead to missed opportunities… According to Edelman; people need to find a balance between staying true to their ‘nice’ nature, while also being assertive and protecting their interests– they don’t need to be jerks or SOBs to be successful … The challenge, then, for nice people is to redefine what it means to be nice and to understand that being nice does not have to mean being a doormat; you can be nice, assertive… and still manage confrontation, set boundaries…

In the article Do Nice People Succeed In Business? It Depends by David Sloan Wilson writes: The business world is often depicted as a gladiatorial contest where only selfish survive… According to Adam Grant; think of people you work with; some are probably total sweeties, while others are– jerks, SOBs, only out for themselves… And if you think of ‘nice’ and ‘nasty’ as alternative social strategies that compete against each other, it turns out that either one can win depending upon circumstances.

People who employ ‘nasty’ strategies succeed by preying upon people who employ ‘nice’ strategies… People who employ ‘nice’ strategies succeed by banding together to share their beneficence and avoiding people who employ ‘nasty’ strategies. It’s that simple… In scientific literature, ‘niceness’ is called pro-sociality– any attitude, behavior, or social institution oriented toward the welfare of others or society as a whole…

People raised in highly pro-social environments develop multiple assets, thriving as individuals in addition to helping others. People raised in absence of pro-sociality develop multiple deficits, including; antisocial behavior, substance abuse, risky sexual behavior, depression…

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In the article Are Successful People Nice in Business? by Art Markman writes: Being nice in business may have social benefits, but does it pay? Using earnings data, researchers found that men who rank high in ‘agreeableness’ (niceness) make substantially less than men who are ‘less agreeable’ (nastiness)… Conversely women’s earnings were less affected. There was small difference between women high and low in ‘agreeableness’…

So, why do these results differ for men and women? There is a stereotype that when men lead, they make decisions without concern for what people think… whereas, women are more sensitive to people’s thoughts… Hence, the theory is that career advancement requires a willingness to ruffle feathers from time to time. Good leaders need to be able to tell people things they do not want to hear… And putting oneself forward for promotion means putting yourself before others; of course, this is not license to be a jerk at work…

In the article Why Being Nice in Business is a Strength by Kathryn Kerns writes: Many people associate being nice with being weak or accommodating, but niceness is actually a powerful tool for achieving business goals… Most people want to work with nice people… Now more than ever ‘cultural fit’ is key factor in many organizations’ hiring decisions…

Nice workers get along with team members, take the time to mentor junior employees, promote positive attitudes in the workplace… The ability to work well within a team is critical for success in workplace and diversity is highly-valued within the workforce. But to harness the competitive advantage of diverse viewpoints and backgrounds team members must feel comfortable sharing strengths and opinions; and a level of niceness helps the team to function efficiently and accomplish more…

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Nice people genuinely care about others, they listen to their needs and instinctively want to meet those needs, which in turn forms the foundation of trust for successful business relationships… Perhaps you’ve heard the popular saying; people don’t leave companies, people leave their managers… As it turns out, nicer managers have more engaged employees, nice managers care about their team and acknowledge their contributions, nice managers recruit better talent…

Hence, ‘nice’ companies are; more productive, more profitable, higher customer ratings, lower rates of turnover… However, niceness does not need to mean weakness, or incompatible with toughness, or unable to manage difficult boundaries… Nice people can voice opinions, stand up for beliefs and even disagree… but ‘nice’ people do so with kindness, grace, respect…