By Kevin Eikenberry

I have noticed a theme in my life, and this theme has a great deal to do with your ability to lead your team successfully. The theme is stated simply on a t-shirt that I have that I wore at Halloween. It said:
“Just Be Nice”

I love the shirt and the message because I believe that we all need to be reminded sometimes of the importance of being nice.

I had a conversation with a visitor once who asked me to list the things I look for when hiring or otherwise bringing someone onto my team. One of the five attributes I listed was “being nice.” He immediately asked if I meant “personable.” I thought briefly then agreed with them. I wish now I could take back the agreement.

While I am among the most optimistic people I know, I believe that generally speaking, we are being less nice these days.

“Just Be Nice” – is clearly one of the most under-appreciated leadership activities.

Personable is good, as is decency. But what I want on my team is nice people. This doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to be passionate about their beliefs or shy away from conflict. It means they are nice. Nice to each other and nice to customers. I know that if I want a culture of collegiality, of interaction, of nice, I, as the leader must be a model of nice.

When I am nicer, I build teams, communicate, develop others, coach, and influence more effectively- all important behaviors for me as a leader.

This week, your task is to think about the behavior of being nice. Consider it to be the leadership skill that you focus on today. Note how often you observe it– and consider how often you are being nice. This will help you be a better leader for your team, too.

While it might not be the sexiest leadership idea you consider this week, being nice is a good leadership skill. It is something that will make a positive impact on your leadership success, as well as your personal life. So go ahead:

Just Be Nice.


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