Too Hard to Be Nice at Work?

9 Jul

I get it. We’re all busy. A lot of us are overworked. But, really, can’t we just be nice to people?

That was the focus of a recent article in the New York Times called “No Time to Be Nice at Work.” The author studied the topic and writes that more than half of people aren’t nice at work because they’re “overloaded.” More than 40% aren’t nice because they don’t have the time.

The author pointed a finger at bosses and writes, “Bosses produce demoralized employees through a string of actions: walking away from a conversation because they lose interest; answering calls in the middle of meetings without leaving the room; openly mocking people by pointing out their flaws or personality quirks in front of others; reminding their subordinates of their ‘role’ in the organization and ‘title’; taking credit for wins, but pointing the finger at others when problems arise. Employees who are harmed by this behavior, instead of sharing ideas or asking for help, hold back.”

Mean Boss in Office

Anyone ever experienced that? Um…yes.

He even quotes a study which found that employees who had been belittled at work performed 33% worse on anagram word puzzles and came up with 39% fewer creative ideas during a brainstorming task focused on how they might use a brick. Seems being nice at work creates increased productivity, too.

The author also blames technology–how many times have you been in a meeting, only to watch your boss check his phone or, worse, text while you’re talking? We seem to be so wired that it’s hard to focus on what someone is saying.

The good news? The author says being nice actually HELPS you get ahead. In one study, those who seemed to be civil were twice as likely to be viewed as leaders.

So, being nice is better for business AND better for your career. Who says nice guys finish last?




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