Inadequate Goodwill: Nice don’t cut it.

Say you had an employee that you considered to be good. This employee was very respectful, courteous, punctual, caring and just downright nice. Very nice.

Also, you had another employee that was very insubordinate. You know, the typical smug; disrespectful, loud, overbearing and just downright arrogant. Very arrogant.

Who would you rather work it?

Mr Nice Guy is the textbook definition of a good and co-operative employee and could stand as the ambassador of a healthy work environment. He’s good at his job and never fails to deliver on a deadline or sales target. He hardly brings in new clients, but hasn’t lost an existing one either. One would say that it’s his good behaviour that has kept them. Nothing special, you can simply say, he gets by ‘nicely’. While, Mr Smug Pants, although you keep hearing complaints about his attitude and how impossible he is to work with, he always delivers on his sales target and meet stipulated deadlines. In fact, he is excellent at bringing in new clients and securing existing ones. Let’s just say, he makes things happen!

A little recession hits your company and most of your clients move to your competitors. You’re in a tight spot and have to downsize your staff. Both of them essentially occupy the same position and so, to minimise unnecessary cost, you’re down to selecting either of them.

Who are you gonna fire?

I am not here to tell who to keep or not. That’s not my business. You only have to consider that keeping one could help boost your profit in these tough times by attracting new investors and clients, but would leave you with a massive headache. On the other hand, keeping the other could make you barely make it as a company or even incur losses, but would definitely save you a lot of stress.

I don’t know what the right answer is, but, a role model (and one time pastor) of mine and my former boss, both said they would layoff the nice guy.

This got me thinking and I ended up concluding that nice doesn’t cut it. Especially when nice appears to be the only thing — only exceptional thing — someone has to offer.

In my attempt to apply this to my life, I realised, that perhaps, this explains why ‘nice guys’ don’t get the girl — at least, not initially. Girls — if you would pardon the gross generalization — seem to desire ‘adventurous’ and outgoing men. The kind of guys that would provide the thrills they seek. Someone with great banter and a brilliant sense of humour. A guy fit for bragging to her friends, like a mother that wants her kid to come first in class and be the captain of the school team; her pride and joy.

The thing is, the trajectory of the inherently nice, easygoing and respectable guy from home, doesn’t seem to, generally speaking, lean towards these things. And, like the nice employee with no new clients, this guy wouldn’t be picked for the job description above, because he hasn’t displayed the potential to rake in profit, or in this case, danger and adventure.

Interestingly, the dangerous hunk guy wields his bravado like a badge of honour and as a cheap excuse to have a poor behaviour. Likewise, the nice guy. You could say they are different shades of egotism.

If you’ve been on the planet long enough, you should have seen the ‘bad boys’ develop better attitudes when they grow up and some of these ‘good boys’, now become more stylish and outgoing. More significantly, the girls that had picked the hunk guys over the class cheese and got their hearts broken now seem to all be in search of ‘nice guys’. The bad boys are realising the error of their ways and are becoming better men. Conversely, the nice boys that couldn’t get the girls back in school, are becoming ruthless in their dealings with people.

The sociological trajectory of the man-cub seems to start at polar opposites of his emotional spectrum and tries to merge at the middle to find balance, as all of nature tries to do. But, sadly, these boys somehow miss each other on this journey and end up crossing over to each other’s initial lanes. So, instead of the man to find balance, he goes on to re-invent his extremes, only this time, with new faces. For, somehow, he keeps failing to realise that, he shouldn’t substitute his personality, he should simply add to it, develop himself and build on who he is.

We all commend that nice person that remembers our birthdays, buys us little gifts, leaves little notes to remind us how much they appreciate us and constantly say thank you’s and sorry’s. I know I do. But, it’s become evident that niceties are not cut out to be a part of the metrics of measuring our mundane successive notions. Then again, who cares? If you know why you chose to be nice, then be nice anyway!

I have to ask though, why be nice when you can be mean?

Yours with a Quill!

Photo location: Park bench by Industrial Estate, along Afon Cegin river, Bangor.

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