I would say that the following is especially true of women. Women are conditioned when children, more so than men are, to be nice – to lack boundaries, and to be passive, rather than be assertive.
Christian churches who support Gender Complementarianism further pressure girls and women to engage in this highly codependent behavior, which they deem “biblical” and “nice.”
I was bullied over the course of my life, as a child by other children at school, and as an adult by other adults at various jobs I had. One supervisor I had in my early 30s was particularly bullying, and I think my “niceness” (severe codependency) made me an attractive and easy target for that boss, and for co-workers who used me.
When Being Nice Backfires by N Lipkin
We’re taught from a young age to “play nice” if we don’t want to find ourselves in trouble. Being “nice” is a huge part of our upbringing and vocabulary. As we grow older, these early messages can turn into unconscious scripts that impact our personal and professional lives.
The early childhood message to “play nice” is especially apparent in our relationships with others. It is often louder than the call for us to be assertive, set healthy boundaries, or even prioritize our own needs over the needs of others.
But how nice should a leader be? If you’re too nice you risk being a pushover; you might keep an employee beyond their expiration date; you might see deadlines come and go; you might become too close with your employees at the expense of being able to give them tough feedback.
There are nuances to being “nice” that can make or break you.Being an empathetic, sensitive person who cares about their employees is one thing; being afraid of letting someone go who is underperforming or ill-suited for a position (as one example) is where “nice” and “leadership” should part ways.
Ultimately, you can sacrifice the health of your company or team or own professional livelihood simply because being nice is easier, more comfortable.
So, what if my value system says as a leader, “I should always be nice”?
It’s important to redefine what “nice” means when it relates to leadership. “Nice” shouldn’t mean being a pushover, always saying yes, being incapable of giving constructive feedback, and/or not letting people go.
That need will stifle creativity and objectivity and breed a lack of respect toward you by employees.
“Nice” needs to be defined as having a positive impact on your people and the organization as a whole , i.e. positive leadership.
…Nor does empathy and these other qualities mean you will do whatever people want and or feel entitled to.
Here are some tips to help avoid the traps of being too nice:
- Reshape your relationship with nice:
Some introspection is needed to discover why this is a priority. Examine what has hurt you about this relationship with being nice and what has helped. Keep what has helped, discard/change what has hurt.
The above are merely excerpts. To read the entire article, please click here.