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Maybe I just got caught up into the time of year and the long-held belief that Santa comes to those who are nice, not naughty. Or maybe it was the John Templeton quote Barry Simmons put out there during his comments at our company holiday party this week. It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. Being nice is something we all need to be reminded of every once in a while, particularly if you manage people.
Dictionary.com defines the word nice three ways. First there is pleasing, agreeable, and delightful. The example might be my manager is nice. How do I integrate this idea into my managerial style? As managers we don’t want to just agree with our direct reports about a particular issue in order to be considered nice, particularly when we don’t agree to begin with. At the same time we need to be reminded of our style or the way we come across in our routine interactions. If we keep it all business, and constantly remind our reports of our superior understanding and authority, we create a unpleasing persona. The key here is to treat others like we want to be treated, while at the same time fulfilling our responsibilities as managers.
Then there is the second idea of kind. An example might be my manager is nice to our customers. Rest assured that if you are a manager, your people watch what you do and give it more weight than what you say. To me the attitude of kindness reflects selflessness. It is the attitude of serving others as your mission. It’s opening the door for someone with their hands full, or reaching out to show concern when someone is suffering. Being kind shows emotional maturity. For managers, it’s the opposite of demanding and berating.
I’m a Tim McGraw fan. He released a hit song in 2016 titled “Humble and Kind”. The lyrics are worthy of some consideration when we are thinking about this component of nice.
Finally we have the idea of showing great skill, tact, care, or delicacy. An example might be she did a nice job of handling a difficult situation. As managers we need to develop skills in dealing with others and seek to become masters of our craft. We’ve talked before about management is the art and science of achieving results with and through the voluntary cooperation of others. Being competent and seeking constant improvement is critical.
Being Nice is Good For You
I found a Huffington Post article from 2014 that speaks to why being nice is good for you. Among some of the ideas was that being nice is good for you because it improves your mood and may lead to increased longevity. Being nice also may actually improve your career success because people generally like to be around nice people.
Over the next few days, make it a point to look for examples of nice wherever you find yourself. Consider the three different aspects of nice: pleasing, kind, and competent. Identify growth opportunities for yourself in these three dimensions. What does being a nice manager who treats people nicely and does a nice job look like for you?