You Need to Take the Time to Be Nice

There was a recent article in the “Sunday Review” section of the New York Times recently entitled “No Time to Be Nice” bemoaning the fact that simple courtesies are lacking in many workplaces these days.  The subhead was “We’re rude at work, and it’s hurting profits, health and happiness.”  To that I would add career success.

Here’s some scary stuff that was in the article…

“Many are skeptical about the returns of civility.  A quarter believe that they will be less leader-like, and nearly 40% are afraid that they’ll be taken advantage of it they are nice at work.”

Wow!  I wouldn’t want to work for one of those bosses, or with those colleagues.

The article goes on to say, “Although in surveys people say they are afraid they will not rise in an organization if they are really friendly and helpful, the civil do succeed…behavior involving politeness and regard for others in he workplace pays off.  In a study in a biotechnology company, those seen as civil were twice as likely to be viewed as leaders.”

It concludes with a great point. “In every interaction you have a choice.  Do you want to lift people up of hold them down.”

I choose to do my best lift up the people around me.  Being friendly and helpful has helped me greatly in my career.  This doesn’t mean that I never disagree with a colleague.  But when I do disagree I do it in a respectful manner — one that doesn’t attack the person or his or her self esteem.

The article provided a list of common rude workplace behaviors, by bosses and colleagues.  I’m a big believer in positive models, so I have turned that list into my 10 + 1 best positive workplace behaviors.  Check them out…

  • When someone asks how you’re doing, respond positively.  Say, “great, and you?”
  • Respond to invitations, even if to decline them.
  • Accept the differences and quirks of others, not judging them.
  • Do your fair share of the work, not just the easy tasks.
  • Listen to understand the thoughts and emotions behind the spoken words.
  • Work hard to understand the reasons why someone disagrees with you.
  • Share the credit — and the blame.
  • Be fully engaged, not multitasking, during meetings.
  • Give others your full attention when you’re in conversation with them. Put people before smart phones.
  • Say “please” and “thank you.”
  • Smile often.

Put these 10 + 1 behaviors to work and watch your career flourish.  People react positively As my grandmother used to say, “You get more flies with honey than vinegar.”

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.

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