Monday, September 22, 2008

The Danger of Being Too Nice at Work by Meridith Levinson, CIO

Here are three concepts nice people need to understand to succeed at work:

1. Business is competitive. Deal with it.
Edelman interviewed Sam DiPiazza Jr., the CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers, for his book. DiPiazza had this to say about business, according to Edelman: "Business, whether we like it or not, includes competition. It's challenging, aggressive and very demanding. Despite the perception of many, it can also be performed nicely."

2. Sometimes being nice isn't very nice at all.
Edelman also spoke with the CEO of the American Cancer Society, John Seffrin, who believes that when mangers are too nice and are incapable of having honest discussions with others (such as during a performance review) for fear of hurting feelings, they're in fact not being nice at all and they're doing a disservice to the people they manage.

3. Confrontation is not necessarily a bad thing.
Nice people avoid confrontation because it's uncomfortable, says Edelman. If nice people are to be more assertive, they need to understand the business value of confrontation: it allows them to solve problems. Edelman points to a strategy employed by 1-800-GOT-JUNK CEO Brian Scudamore, which Scudamore calls "race to the conflict." The idea is, if a conflict or issue comes up, employees should race to it to get it resolved as quickly as possible. If they don't, they're wasting time.

© 2008 CXO Media Inc.

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