Mini-Post: The Art of Being Nice in Business (Written by a Former Meanie)

I know this will come as a shock to people who’ve known me for awhile, but I’ve heard the following words a few more times than I’d like to admit in the last year:

“You’re too nice.”

It’s funny; I used to pride myself on being a cold-hearted, business-minded diva…but I’ve learned a few things in the past few years that have contributed to my “niceness”.  Because of that, I’ve kept in touch with more and more former co-workers, become friends with more of my current co-workers, and in general, feel like a much happier person.

You really do win more flies with honey than with vinegar

Those pesky 3-5 day lead times to have a form, document, contract, etc. approved are annoying as crap.  I’ve been both the person imposing the lead time and the one constrained by them.  Most of the time, those lead times can be shortened by taking the time to build a relationship with the person.

When I was the one imposing them, and I couldn’t stand you…guess what?  I’d wait until the very last minute to get whatever you need to get done.  However, if you took the time to get to know me, I may be able to pull some strings.

Dance with the music

A former manager told me this once, and based on my experiences with him/her, I interpreted it as “You can’t change people, just accept who they are and adapt.”  There are times which we can all peg certain people and call them out on it, but why?  What do you really achieve from doing that?  You may feel better in the short term, but in the long run, it will always backfire.  People are who they are.

Respect everyone…everyone

There’s something charming about someone who can talk to and relate to the mailman and the CEO equally.  You, and everyone else, are more than your job title.  The things I’ve learned from people who may be considered less educated than me on paper, are astounding.  Being book smart doesn’t mean a thing in the big scheme of life.

Pick your battles

In relationships, whether work or personal, I’d venture to say that 95% of conflicts aren’t worth it.  It’s really on the same vein as dancing with the music….I’ve learned that when I do feel the need to pick a battle, people are more willing to listen because they know that I feel strongly about it.  You don’t want to be the person who argues for argument’s sake — eventually you’ll get tuned out.

Maybe these are obvious, maybe they’re not, but they’re just a few things I’ve learned on my journey to being mrs. nice girl.

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