Reasons to stop being nice at work

By Kelly D. Parker 4 minute Learn

On the age of six, between taking part in hopscotch, driving bikes, and drawing photos, I discovered an necessary lesson about how groups work primarily based on the story of The Three Little Pigs, the place an industrious farm animal and his two brothers constructed homes made of varied supplies. Every dwelling appeared sturdy from the surface, however just one supplied sufficient safety when hazard arrived.

The lesson? If you construct, use one thing robust sufficient to protect you from hazard.


Is your group constructed to final?

When managers construct groups, they sometimes make the most of nice. They rent nice folks and encourage nice interactions, cordial pleasantries, and well mannered exchanges. For the reason that home seems fairly good from the surface, they’re baffled by how rapidly a few huffs and puffs from stress, battle, and adversity blow the entire thing down, leaving poor retention charges and an unengaged workforce in its wake. 

As counterintuitive as it might appear, nice simply isn’t sufficient. In mild of developments within the present panorama such because the Nice Resignation and a troubling labor scarcity, it’s time to reimagine our method to work and the environments we create. To perform this feat, we’ll want Nice’s wiser, extra mature older sibling: Kindness.

Research carried out by the Affiliation of Skilled Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX) discovered that groups in a respectful, variety atmosphere specific 36% extra satisfaction with their jobs and are 44% extra dedicated to their organizations.

However aren’t nice and type the identical factor? Not fairly. Although related, kindness is the clear entrance runner, with the facility to inspire groups, increase productiveness and foster a tradition that pulls and retains high expertise.

Listed below are three causes to ditch nice in trade for variety.

Niceness breeds uncertainty

Think about you’re stress-free exterior together with your favourite chilly drink on a scorching, summer season day. Your glass is full of a tasty concoction, completely accented with a handful of refreshingly chilly ice cubes. You stroll away solely to return and uncover these valuable ice cubes of yours have rapidly melted within the warmth, turning your drink right into a watered-down mess.


Such is the existence of the typical nice particular person. Their well mannered disposition rapidly fades when the warmth rises. In the event that they encounter somebody who isn’t as courteous as they’re, they aren’t acknowledged for his or her nice gestures or they’re merely underneath stress, they soften. In flip, different group members typically really feel burdened by the chore of navigating their shifts in temperament. 

In distinction, variety folks aren’t swayed by exterior elements. They stand agency of their inner conviction to be respectful, even when the favor isn’t returned. Due to their consistency, they earn belief and acquire affect with ease, no matter their job title.

Nice folks need to be appreciated

Whereas nice and type folks could show related behaviors, their motivation is sort of totally different. 

For nice folks, different folks’s opinions are paramount. They take nice care to handle their fame, particularly in entrance of individuals they deem necessary. Their actions and behaviors are performative.

Sort folks additionally need to be thought nicely of, nevertheless, that’s not what drives them. They’re primarily motivated by what they may give, even when there’s no quick payoff. They see by way of the eyes of empathy and may join to others’ wants. Their deal with real goodwill with no strings hooked up helps group members really feel protected and valued.

Niceness slows progress

Hesitant to rock the boat, nice folks could keep away from battle and draw back from elevating dissenting opinions. Their robust need to be appreciated virtually all the time wins the day, which means they could let a group member contact the proverbial scorching range with out talking up so as to keep away from an uncomfortable dialog. In these circumstances, their passivity slows progress because the group experiences pricey setbacks from unhealthy choices that would have been prevented.

Sort folks have the braveness to respectfully communicate the reality, even when they gained’t be thought-about nice for doing so. Their boldness promotes problem-solving, drives innovation, and will increase productiveness. 

Create a tradition of kindness 

What are you able to do proper now to create a tradition of kindness in your office? Begin with one thing nearly all of The Three Little Pigs forgot to do: Take a look at what you’ve constructed to see if it could rise up to the weather. 

Conduct an evaluation to discover out the place you fall on the nice/variety spectrum. Right here’s the way it works: Ask three colleagues if they’d describe you as nice or variety, as described on this article. Their solutions will heighten your self-awareness and make clear blind spots chances are you’ll want to tackle.

Whereas such a self-reflection is helpful for everybody, it’s particularly essential for folks managers. Groups anticipate managers to foster a wholesome environment by main by instance. Furthermore, they appear to their managers to defend the tradition by holding others accountable.

No matter your position, essentially the most management you’ve gotten over your work atmosphere is the way you present up in it. Once we assess our personal motives and conduct and make the mandatory changes, we have now the facility to create and domesticate variety areas the place everybody can thrive. 


Kelly D. Parker is the founder and lead advisor at KDP Co., empowering corporations to rework their office tradition with the facility of kindness.