Why Being Nice Always Pays Off

Remember as a child when you were told, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Well, that piece of advice is relevant when it comes to managing a team as well. And as anyone who has ever managed a group of people knows, it can be difficult at times with different personalities and work styles to get everyone on the same page and ensure that everyone feels like they are being heard and respected. But when it comes to emotional and social intelligence, you can never go wrong as a manager when you act with extreme civility.  It sounds like a no-brainer, be civil to your teammates. But you would be amazed at how many times we get this wrong as leaders. Common courtesy or acting with respect for the other person and acting with a sense of kindness where possible is a skill that we all need to learn.

Be Nice but Hold People Accountable

Now leading with kindness doesn’t mean that we don’t hold people accountable. But when we’re able to, we can show some grace along the way. We can show some honesty in our communication. We can show some humility in how we treat them when they stumble. Those are all things that will make a person feel valued within an organization, and all things that are within your grasp as a leader.

But does civility really matter that much? There was a wonderful study that was reported in the Harvard Business Review titled “The Price of Incivility,” by Christine Porath and Christine Pearson, and in that article they shared some really frightening statistics. They note that among workers who’ve been on the receiving end of incivility:

  • 48 percent intentionally decreased their work effort. They stopped trying so hard at work.
  • 47 percent intentionally spent less time at work.
  • 38 percent intentionally decreased the quality of their work.
  • 66 percent said that they performed worse overall and their performance declined.
  • 78 percent said they became less committed to the company overall and it’s vision.
  • 12 percent just up and quit because of that treatment.
  • And 25 percent admitted to taking out their frustrations on customers and clients.

People Don’t Quit Jobs, They Quit Managers

And whether you know it or not, this is happening in businesses all over the country, possibly even yours. There’s a saying that people don’t quit companies, and they don’t quit jobs–they quit bad managers. So a little bit of extreme civility goes a long way in keeping your team engaged and production. Remembering to say please and thank you goes a long way these days.

I have met a lot of younger managers in particular who think that it’s trendy and cool to be your authentic self, which to them means, cursing, yelling, or swearing to make a point with their team. That they think that showing their emotions to their team makes them connect. But in reality, if those actions and words are not based in kindness and respect, they will likely fall short of their intended consequences. We can always do things with social grace, while still being direct and respectful. Your team deserves as much.