Demanding, hard-charging, results-at-all-costs leaders get results. 

For a while.

Eventually, though, the pressure gets old. The message grows stale. Leaders who manage through heavy-handed authority quickly "lose" their teams. I'll do what you tell me to do, but that's about it.

And as soon as I can, I'll do it for -- or with -- someone else.

That's a lesson Mark Cuban has learned over the years. As Cuban says:

"I went through my own metamorphosis. Early on in my career, I was like bam, bam, bam, bam, bam -- I might curse. I might get mad. I got to the point... I wouldn't have wanted to do business with me when I was in my twenties.

I had to change. And I did. And it really paid off.

One of the most underrated skills in business right now is being nice. Nice sells."

(Side note: I can vouch for how nice Cuban can be.)

Think about the best bosses you've had. Sure, they may have been demanding. May have had high expectations. May have provided occasional doses of tough love.

But you didn't mind, because you knew they cared about you. They believed in you. They were demanding because they knew you were capable of reaching that level of performance -- and while they may have been direct about the expectations they had, they delivered that message in an encouraging and respectful way.

In short, they were nice. Not soft, not lenient, but nice.

Be nice, and other people will be more forgiving of your mistakes. They'll be more tolerant of your lack of experience or skill. They'll be more willing to work with you, help you, encourage you, and, if you're a leader, to follow you.

Don't assume pay or benefits or opportunities make employees feel respected and valued. Tangible rewards have an impact, but treat employees poorly -- with disrespect, disdain, or disapproval -- and no tangible reward will overcome the damage to their feelings of self-worth.

The same is true for vendors and suppliers. Sure, you're writing the check. You're the customer. So they should be nice to you. But you should also be nice to them -- because you're all in it together.

As Jeff Bezos says, "Cleverness is a gift. Kindness is a choice." 

You can choose to include rather than exclude. You can choose to build people up rather than tear them down. You can give before you receive, knowing you may never receive. You can shift the spotlight to other people. You can listen more than you talk. 

You can choose to be nice: Not because you're expected to, but simply because you can.

You can always choose to be nice.

Start being nicer and you'll be a lot more likely to get what you want, especially over the long term.

And a lot more likely to build better professional and personal relationships.

Win-win-win.

Published on: Nov 18, 2019
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