“Are you nice?”
“I’m told I’m a nice person but really, what I strive for is to be kind.”
When I was editing my book, the kindness shown to me by people I respect wasn’t always nice. It was benevolent and considerate with the intent to make things better. There were times when I silently raged against the feedback that felt critical and demoralizing. But in the end, it made the book better.
I appreciated friends who were willing to step up and tell me things I didn’t want to hear but needed to know. I learned a lot from the experience, and now more than ever, I strive to be as brave and kind as those friends who helped me edit my book.
What High Trust Leaders share is a willingness to voice their own opinions even when others disagree.
Being pleasant and agreeable is a trait you want to have in your team members but as a leader, people must trust that they will get the real goods from you, even when it is unpleasant and not ‘nice’. I find it interesting to note that, although agreeableness is positively correlated with teamwork, it is negatively correlated with leadership success.
The leader who is displeased with a worker’s performance must be strong enough to let them know in very plain language what they need to do and the consequences if they don’t do it.
Wanting to be seen as a popular and nice boss is the surest way to fail.
Rather than saying, “Well, I guess things are OK… maybe it could be better.” (Nice) Say, “Here is what needs to be improved, and we’re giving you x amount of time to do it. We’ll meet again in (x) days and decide what will be done based on your performance.” (Kind)
If and when you meet them again, you don’t see any improvement, you are not doing them or the company any favors by prolonging the employment. No one should be surprised when they are fired or worse still, not knowing if they are on the chopping block.
If you’re not sure what to do, give me a call, and I’ll help you.
Quick Way to Lose Trust
After managing a few offices, I can tell you that one of the quickest ways to lose trust is to talk about someone behind their back. When I was an HR manager reporting to the C-suite, it sometimes felt that my job ONLY involved talking about people when they weren’t present. I made sure that whatever I said about people, I also said to them, and they all knew what messaging was passed up the chain.
Saying something nice to people when you are in front of them and then criticizing them in public or to their co-workers, not only destroys trust but gains a reputation as a hypocrite and can result in costly lawsuits.
What you say about others says more about you than them.
How you say it counts! There is a time to be terse, and it’s not when what you are saying impacts another person’s future. Be kind and spend the time.
And, to quote a favorite song of mine, “In the end, only kindness matters.”