This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Organizational Psychology for Managers
A question I get asked quite often is, “do nice guys finish last?”
The problem lies in the definition of nice.
Leaders should set high standards and then work like mad to help their team achieve those standards. That may require pushing people or telling them that they’ve screwed up.
There is a big difference between holding high standards, expecting people to meet those standards, and being an utter jerk. Jerks end up damaging the team and, given enough time, the company.
Similarly, leaders who refuse to tell you when you’re doing something wrong or who refuse to provide negative feedback when that feedback would be beneficial are not helping the team either.
So, if you define nice as “not wanting to upset or offend anyone ever,” then you probably will finish last. You’ll deserve it.
The nicest thing you can do is treat people as the high performers you know they can become, constantly push people to develop their strengths, don’t be afraid of difficult discussions, and don’t be afraid to take the actions necessary to build your team. We’ll look more at those actions in the next few chapters.