Do Nice Guys Finish Last?
So that was a topic of conversation that Jody and I engaged in as we killed some time at a regional HR conference recently. To tell the truth we found our conversation a lot more stimulating then the sales pitches of local staffing agencies and benefit consulting firms soliciting our attention and potential business (more on this in a future entry).
So the questioned posed was whether nice guys finish last, specifically in business (but really in any setting)???
My answer was NO they finish first, but only if they are competent and earn respect along the way.
Nothing new, Dale Carnegie has been preaching this to management for decades, and Marshall Goldsmith has been putting his own Buddhist spin on this recently. Treat people in a kind way, help others succeed, and if you have nothing nice to say don’t say it.
However, that’s really not enough to tip the scales. I believe that there is more to the formula; competence and respect. Two key ingredients that should be obvious but never overlooked. Competence is the easy one to spot almost immediately. You can become competent by learning and applying your skills but respect is another story. Respect is earned over time. It’s visceral and you can feel it when’s it is present.. Respect can be earned by being competent but only if you treat people nicely (it’s really a bi- product of being nice and competent).
So here is Fogel’ formula for success:
Nice + Competent + Respect = Success
Most employees will go the extra mile for a supervisor they like, and think of as competent, and respectful. Will they do the same for one that they think differently of????
Bullies, narcissists, and Machiavellians, and an occasional sociopath, usually get short term results out of fear but rarely win in the long term. Take a poll in your own firm and circle of friends, I bet most will agree with me.
So what are you all waiting for, take Mark’s advice and be nice!!!!!