When it comes to leadership success, it’s important to address differences between somebody being nice and somebody being kind. We’ve all heard the saying in one situation or another that “nice guys don’t win” or “nice guys finish last.” And I think that is a true statement.
So let’s take a minute to understand the reason they don’t win. When somebody is nice, they are easy to get along with. They avoid conflict and try to make sure everything goes smoothly for everybody. What they are doing is not embracing conflict in a situation and not letting necessary struggle happen. This is a big mistake!
Why Nice Guys Finish Last
People who are always just trying to be the nice guys, the peacekeepers, trying to bring things together, are missing a very important part of what it takes to be a leader. It’s important to have harmony, of course, but if you’re a leader, then you owe it to the other person to talk to them with nothing but the highest level of kindness- which is candor. That is necessary for the betterment of everybody.
The reason why nice people fail is that they can’t or won’t embrace conflict. They end up letting people down because they want to be popular and well-liked and don’t want to stir the pot. In the end, that leads to less harmony than if you are kind and show candor. Many have the misconception that by having conversations in the midst of conflict, you’re being mean. They are missing the bigger picture.
Be Kind and Embrace the Struggle
It’s all about the delivery and the intention. If you go into a situation giving specific solutions and areas for improvement, you’re actually empowering others and showing kindness. It starts with questions, asking people what they are seeing, and learning what’s going on from their perspective and what is causing these things to happen.
Then you come in as the leader and ask if they’d like suggestions, explain what you are seeing, and come with a solution. That’s the highest level of kindness because you have to embrace your own discomfort for others’ best interests. It’s not easy to do, but everybody benefits in the end. When you’re nice, nobody benefits in the long run because you aren’t addressing discomfort, so it festers and grows.
Being nice is avoiding conflict and ignoring it until it becomes a massive disaster and dilemma where resentment is built up. You’ve created bitterness towards a situation where somebody feels treated unfairly, and that’s why nice people lose. Because they show a lack of courage to show true kindness.
What Nice People are Missing Out On.
It takes courage to show kindness because the best way to be kind is to let somebody know where they stand, where there is room for improvement when they are not doing to the best of their ability, and show them what you see in them. Kindness is helping to show the way and granting grace and forgiveness while people navigate it.
People that are nice can foster an environment of resentment on both sides because they don’t understand why someone isn’t listening to them. It’s because they can’t put somebody in a position to win and do better by just being nice. When you don’t face the conflict because you want others to like you, it’s a disservice to everybody involved.
When we neglect to embrace conflict, and we don’t tell people in a professional manner how they can improve from a place of love and wanting them to succeed, they are eventually going to grow dissatisfied with our leadership. When you are a nice leader, it will come back to haunt you because people will feel like you let them down. By leaving out the difficult conversations and failing to encourage them to struggle well, you are letting them down, so everybody remains comfortable.