I’m sure you’ve heard about this quote – “ Nice guys finish last”
I think people try to justify being a douche at work is the best way to get the job done so this quote is the most appropriate justification for aggressive and confrontational behavior.
In my years of experience in leadership, I have observed different approaches that get the job done. There’s the aggressive, alpha-dog approach and the nice approach.
Both have worked in the past. But looking back, there is a distinct aftermath that clearly makes a difference.
Alpha Dog Leadership
This approach is the strong, aggressive, controlling and fear-infusing way.
I’m sure you’ve had those bosses where they yell, become aggressive on the deadlines, over-commits to the client or stakeholders and scare the hell out of you to get you to deliver.
Yup, I’ve had those too.
And while I had to deal with those horrible bosses, I’ve learned that it can only get you to a certain level of tolerance before disaster strikes.
This bad work habit doesn’t work all the time.
In fact, resentment builds over time that it will just implode, and indifference becomes the ultimate outcome.
Can this approach get the job done? Oh yes it can.
Is it a sustainable approach? Hell, no.
In fact, it will cause the team to break and the impact of this approach can be catastrophic. Imagine having to hire a new set of team to work for you because they hated working for you.
Yup, not sustainable alright.
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Let me get this straight, being nice doesn’t mean being a pushover. This approach is a collaborative approach that fosters open communication and working as a team to meet a goal.
If you’re a first-time manager who wants to grow in the role the right way, this is an approach you should try out first.
Having a nice attitude as a leader means eschewing the alpha-dog way of leadership.
It means being gentle, kind, helpful, and cordial in your relationships, even in times of anger and stress -- ESPECIALLY in times of anger and stress.
Here are 8 surprising reasons why being nice gets the job done than the Alpha Dog Leadership.
1. You Stay in Control
Alpha-dog leaders seek to control others. But they misconstrue what control really means.
In truth, such leaders are really out of control much of the time, since they're at the mercy of their emotional outbursts and the reactions of others to those outbursts.
In leadership, the best way to control a situation, i.e., the best way to get great results, is to put the people in control.
Don't constrain them through short-term compulsion but liberate them by playing the "longer game."
Unleash their initiative and creativity by allowing them to make free choices, and they will be under your "control" in more profound and effective ways than the alpha-dog leader could imagine.
This also builds highly motivated team over time that not only delivers short term results but also long term consistent results as well
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2. People respond more openly and positively to nice colleagues
Humans seek happiness; and friendliness is a great way to spread happiness.
It enables you to communicate much more effectively because it bonds you with others in ways that anger, coercion, intimidation can't.
And that bonding is one of the reasons that great results flow from.
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3. With being nice, everybody has an opportunity to win.
They may compel others to get on board; but if those others do so out of compulsion and not genuine conviction and motivation, the fruits of any victories can become ashes.
Most people welcome being nice -- even if they disagree with and even dislike the leader.
Furthermore, our friendliness can prompt the people we interact with to reflect on their own character, a prerequisite for their choosing to be motivated.
In an environment of friendliness, all parties have an opportunity to achieve something positive.
4. Being nice is fire prevention equipment against burning bridges behind you.
An opponent may seem to be your opponent today but in the future you may need him to be your partner in implementing changes.
Being nice gives us an opportunity to have productive relationships even with those who oppose us, enriching both the present and the future.
5. Getting results by being nice can take a lot less energy than getting results through coercion and intimidation.
Friendliness isn't an absolute necessity in leadership. I've seen great leaders who were terrific curmudgeons.
It's just that unfriendly people have to go through a lot more trouble getting people motivated.
6. You increase the chance that others will support your cause.
The truth is that leaders can't motivate anybody to do anything. The people make the choice to be motivated or not.
Nice leaders have the best chance of creating an environment in which the people make that choice.
One quote I came across with illustrates this perfectly.
"If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing him of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause is really a good one." Abraham Lincoln
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7. With being nice, you set the agenda.
You should be on the offense with friendliness, displaying it even in challenging circumstances when it may take an act of disciplined courage on your part.
This helps you set the agenda in terms of how people respond to one another in these circumstances.
Of course, your friendliness will not affect some people who may be determined to subvert your leadership no matter what your attitude is; however, friendliness can, like the clearing of brush-lines to contain a forest fire, keep rancor from spreading deeply into the organization.
8. You are modeling good interactions, bringing the future into the present.
Whether leaders know it or not, their words and actions are carefully watched by the people they lead.
People have an instinctive need to model those words and actions; or if they disagree with them, speak and act in opposite ways.
By radiating friendliness, leaders are being the means that are the ends in the making.
1. Being nice can be mistaken for weakness.
In fact, being nice can BE a weakness if it manifests as a way of avoiding challenging people to do the hard things to get great results.
In leadership, being nice has a clear function to drive people to achieve results consistently.
This entails you challenging people to do what they often don't want to do.
Anybody can be nice to them and let them do what they want.
But a leader must continually be challenging people to struggle mightily for extraordinary results.
If friendliness doesn't help you fulfill that function then it's simply a lifestyle choice, not a leadership tool, and ultimately in terms of leadership, a weakness.
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2. Even if you do use it as a strong leadership tool, you certainly can't be friendly 100 percent of the time.
If you try to be, you'll find yourself becoming a rather one-dimensional leader. One of the most difficult accomplishments facing any leader is simply being who you really are – especially under pressure.
To force-fit friendliness in a situation where you might not ordinarily exhibit it or to use friendliness to manipulate people into conforming to your wishes is not the best leadership uses of friendliness.
It may be a dog-eat-dog world; but by progressing in the Way of Being Nice, leaders can invest their lives in this world with moments of meaning -- and get more results in the bargain.
P.S. Do you agree that being nice gets the job done? Let me know your thoughts. Comment below!
About Daisy Casio
Daisy is the creator of ChampLeaders. She has a husband, a toddler and a love for learning something new. She writes about Leadership, Career Advice, Motivation and many more. Daisy hopes to share her mantra on being positive and living your best self in the now.