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Are Nice People More Successful?

AlisonAlison subscriber Posts: 8
edited March 2007 in Thought Leadership
Recently, we had the authors of The Power of Nice on StartupNation Radio. The authors, Robin Koval and Linda Kaplan Thaler, explore the idea that niceness gets you farther.  Did you put aside your dislike for someone in order to further your career? Did you forego niceness for a more ruthless tactic? Share your thoughts and experiences on this topic.


  • DeniseMMDeniseMM subscriber Posts: 6
    Hi Alison:
    I think there`s a big difference between nice in the corporate world and nice in the entreprenreurial world.  In the corporate world you have no choice except to work with the jerk in the fourth office on the left.  In the entreprenuerial world you do have a choice and so people typically do business with people they like. 
    Then again - there`s nice and then there`s "nice" and I believe that being too "nice" often rips people off - especially women business owners.  Why do I say that?
    Because in the interest of being "nice" a woman won`t start talking with someone about her business.  In the interest of being "nice" a woman won`t ask for the sale - even when it`s appropriate.  In the interest of being "nice" a woman won`t charge what she`s worth for her products or services - or she`ll give too much away.  And the list goes on. 
    I think being "nice" is a message that women like to hear because it validates us continuing to be the way that we are - and we should always be polite and pleasant.  I also believe in total integrity.  But sometimes being "nice" can being being walked on and stomped all over - because you back down too much.
    Is there anyone reading this who can relate?  If you do - visit my profile and send me a message.
    all the best,
    Denise Michaels, Author, "Testosterone-Free Marketing"
  • samdude3samdude3 subscriber Posts: 1
    It really depends on a lot of factors. Donald Trump didn`t get to where he is today because of his charm. Mark Cuban also doesn`t come off as an extremely nice guy. They may only seem mean when they are doing business because they are passionate, but who knows how they act outside of the office. I agree with Denise that Corporate people are jerks. I work for one of the biggest companies out there and  a lot of the higher positions are filled by jerks or at least they come off that way. These corporate guys also have tons of pressure to produce. I don`t think I would walk around with a smile if I had ever-increasing pressure to increase revenue and no excuses were excepted. Most people just want to get ahead and will do whatever it takes to get that promotion, or raise (even if it means stabbing a fellow employee in the back or doing something unethical).
  • NuevolutionNuevolution subscriber Posts: 30 Bronze Level Member
    As a business owner you have to have a little bit of everything. You have to know when to be nice and when to put your foot down when to swallow your pride and give proper credit where needed AND! Although, being nice will get your foot in the door and perhaps get you that interview/meeting with the owner of XYZ Corp. It will not help you when it`s time to close the deal. Remember, anyone company you do business with is going to push you to the limits to see how much they can get away with (FREE) They want to hear the word FREE.... But realisticly nothing is free these days not even the water we drink is free...
    But alot of businesses wish you would just tell them... dont bother writing a check I will work for peanuts. Here take a look I brought my little red suit and hat so when can I start dancing like a monkey? Like Samdude3 said Trump didn`t get where he`s at by being a charming guy. Im pretty sure he had to put his foot down to get the respect he has today. It is not about being Mr.Nice, it`s about being Mr. Respect. another thing that I notice is some people can mis-interpret respect for being nice. Respect and being nice are two different things.  You need to get respect in order for you to survive in any type of business and you need to be nice to get your foot in the door.
  • AlisonAlison subscriber Posts: 8
    Denise raises a good point - gender is a factor in niceness in the workplace. If a woman is professional and personally detached, her colleagues call her an ice princess (or worse). If she is not nice, men find her cold but ultimately they respect her more. If she is not nice with the women, she is ostracized from the social circles. Guys, do you think these are fair assumptions? Ladies, do you agree? 
  • NuevolutionNuevolution subscriber Posts: 30 Bronze Level Member
    Gender always plays a huge role in the business world. I think it doesn`t matter whether a woman is nice or not... All that a woman has to do is wear a nice skirt and put on a smile (fake) and she will sell. I`ve seen it happen before my eyes. I was visiting a customer of mine and while I was in the office talking with him a professionally dressed woman walked in very good looking too. She sold him $800.00 dollars worth of junk he didn`t need. After she left I told him "you know what you just bought?" His response was, I couldn`t help saying no, she was good looking...SO it doesn`t matter whether a woman has a good attitude or not women make great sales people.
  • RumpelstiltskinRumpelstiltskin subscriber Posts: 1
    It`s obvious to all that both "nice" and "not so nice" tend to function well in the business world, and elsewhere.  Either trait can be worked with in general with a little embrace/circumnavigation.  I just hope that we never evolve to the point when "neither trait" is genuinely discernable in-practice (i.e., debating the better of these two qualities: "trojan-horse" or "honest-joe"). Yikes!
  • DeniseMMDeniseMM subscriber Posts: 6
    A couple thoughts for starters since I wrote the book on marketing for women.
    First off, Samdude3, I didn`t say that everyone in the corporate world is a jerk - though I`m sure a lot of them are.  I haven`t worked in corporate in over two decades so I`m not exactly the barometer on these things - but I`ll take your word for it.
    Alison brought up the issue about being successful and of course it doesn`t take long before someone is trotting out The Donald as the ultimate example.  And you`re right he`s got a lot o` bucks.  However success means different things to different people.  What is success for one person is totally different from what is success for someone else.  I know business owners with a very middle of the road income and yet they cherish the fact that they have plenty of time for other pursuits besides just business. 
    Edgar wrote about the good-looking woman who sold a bunch of junk to a guy just because she was good looking.  I`m sure that exists out there but my experience is that a heckuva lot of women are not good at all when it comes to sales.  Why?  They`re great when it comes to building the relationship.  They`re awesome when it comes to explaining the product or service.  They totally blow it when it comes to asking for the sale.   Lots and lots of reasons I hear with the clients I mentor about this - but it pretty much boils down to:
    *  I want to be nice - I don`t want to be pushy
    *  I don`t want to be rejected and have someone say "no."
    Now I could write pages about why this is so - heck I wrote a whole book - including what women can do to turn it around in a win-win way.  But suffice it to say the Mars-Venus differences are astounding and women walk a very fine tightrope to try to be "successful" without being seen as a barracuda, a brazen hussy or a b*tch. 
    For every woman who sails into a mans office and hikes up her skirt a little or (oops!) lets a little cleavage show - there are probably 10 or 20 women who are struggling to really gain traction and make a decent income. 
    I`m not into that kind of "seduction in selling."  Something about it seems wrong to me.  But hey, don`t blame the woman - in this instance the guy was a dope thinking with the little head rather than the big one, if you get my drift.
    all the best,
    Denise Michaels, Author, "Testosterone-Free Marketing"
    Get the book at http://www.tfmbook.com</A>
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