If You Want to be a Better Leader, Try Being Nicer

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Rob gripped his chest. His vision blurry, he tumbled to the ground.

As if in the distance, Grace’s voice echoed, “Call 911!”

Rob felt the blur that was his life fading in and out. Time felt as if it was standing still. The pain. His wife. His children. What were they going to do without him? The tightness in his chest wrenched his heart unmercilessly.

When the rescue workers finally arrived, Rob knew he was done.

When he went to work that morning, he had no idea that it could be his last.

Rob was about one thing: Making everyone else happy. Rarely did he ever worry about himself as much as he did everyone else.

Unfortunately his boss? Was the opposite.

He cared only about his pocket. He cared about his staff’s performance and their ability to produce. He pushed and pushed until he couldn’t push any more. He was cold and cold-hearted.

If he were pleasant at any time, Rob headed for the hills. Because he knew that there would be hell to pay very soon.

Rob’s salary was enough to pay his bills and allow him multiple visits to the golf course each month, where he thought he’d unwind. But those few hours out from under Bill’s tutelage were never enough to repair the damage his overbearing ways caused Rob.

As Rob, Bill’s best salesman, lay recovering in the hospital, he vowed to NEVER work for Bill again. He wanted to enjoy the rest of his life — money be damned.

What happened next didn’t send Rob to the poor-house. In fact, it was the opposite. When Rob found a position with a manager who didn’t magnify everything as an apocalypse, he was happier and his productivity soared.

The Rub

It all comes down to this: Being a decent human being who actually cares for people matters (big time) not just when you need something. And being a “nice” boss? Does not mean you’re weak or soft.

However, the hard boss? The nit-picky boss or the passive-aggressive jerk off… He is doing nothing but creating a workplace from hell for his employees, thereby costing the company $ in terms of days off, medical leave, and the inability to increase productivity that matters.

The research is quite clear. High stress organizations actually have approximately 46% greater health expenditures than organizations with happier, less stressed employees.

Jonathan Haidt of NYU Stern School of Business research shows that when bosses go out of their way to be kind and self-sacrificing, the staff is more likely to develop a pay-it-forward attitude, stay in their jobs longer, and work for the greater good of the company not just themselves. People who have bosses who do good deeds and are amiable are also more productive in their jobs and more open to new ideas (change).

Had his boss known the value of being kind, maybe Rob wouldn’t have suffered that heart attack.

How You Can Be a Good Guy and Finish First in 2018:

  1. Be firm, yet flexible. Being nice doesn’t mean you let people walk all over you. But it does mean you display empathy and sympathy when dealing with people who have issues to take up with you. Sally asked for a day off? No need to deny her, you have coverage for that day.
  2. Smile. Oh yeah. You have to do that too. Your demeanor and decorum matter as much as your actions.
  3. Work. Show they’re not in the trenches alone. It’s not only good for them, it’s good for you. Get in there, get your hands dirty for a little bit. You’ll feel like a new leader, inspired by none other than yourself.
  4. Dispense authentic praise often. Remind them they’re doing a great job. Point out specific acts of awesome and let them know how much you appreciate them. Their morale? Will fly off the charts.
  5. Be the person YOU would want to work for. If you wouldn’t want to work for you, then don’t be that guy.

Bottom line: Think about a New Year’s resolution of treating people with respect, with kindness and you may be surprised with how awesome 2018 turns out for you and others on your team.

Written by

Keynote Speaker | Mindfulness Maven | Happiness Muse | Author | Diversity & Inclusion Advocate | www.devinchughes.com

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