3 Reasons Why Being Too Nice at Work Could Be Dangerous

Are you the “super nice guy” at work and enjoy being too nice because it makes you likable? Find out how being too nice can hold you back. Read more…

Nobody wants to create enemies in the workplace.  As long as you find yourself working in a team, you want to be at peace with everyone and get things moving. However, you may mistake your wish for good relations to mean you have to agree with everything and anything. Eventually, you will find yourself doing extra in order to be everyone’s favourite.

Do you sometimes feel you are doing too much to win people’s approval? Let’s not draw conclusions yet, first ask yourself; Are you a “Mr. Nice Guy”? Are you too scared to air your candid views because you don’t want to be on anybody’s bad side? If you answered “yes”, then take this seriously; attaining the title of hitting the top list of anyone’s favorite colleagues, can negatively affect your interactions with your co-workers in the long run.

Here are the reasons why:

1. You Come Across as Fake

Nobody wants to be called fake. Perhaps your only intent is to be at peace with everyone for an easy workflow. This means you will avoid offending people by giving them your honest feedback when it comes to work-related matters.

Despite how good it sounds, the more you do this, the more people will begin to question the things that you say. For instance, If you’re praising someone’s work to their face only to throw your support behind another person’s approach, people will begin to get suspicious of your actual intent. To maintain cordial work relations, you can practice being direct without being blunt. Think about being specific in your praise and freely discuss areas where people can improve.


2. You Never Contribute Constructive Criticism

Another problem with being too nice at the workplace is that if your colleague asks for feedback and you tell him his work on the project is incredible when it’s not, you’re actually sabotaging him when that is not your intention. Yes, you want to maintain good friendships but that doesn’t mean you won’t have individual opinions from time to time.

Giving critical feedback can be scary, especially if it’s to your peers. But, if you never make any suggestions, others might take it as a sign that you don’t care enough to be of help. Constantly praising your colleagues without pinpointing their faults could get them in trouble and ultimately cost them their jobs. In the end, you could be partially blamed for not being honest about his or her performance. Remember, straightforward and honest communication will always help a colleague and grow the business.

3. You Become Everyone’s Doormat

People will begin to disregard your boundaries without even feeling like they’re taking advantage of you. For instance, your teammate wants to take off a bit early, but there’s a final part of a project that needs to get done. So, she asks if it is ok to stay late and complete everything, and without hesitation, you say, “Absolutely. No problem!” If you do this all the time, you’ll end being the office doormat, and your teammates won’t ever feel bad about walking on you because you don’t seem to mind. If you can’t fulfill your colleague’s demands you have to say it. Turning down these requests will help change the perception people have of you.

If you are a genuinely nice person, there is no reason why you should feel bad about it. This also doesn’t mean that you should become a mean person just because people think you are too nice.  

Whether you communicate verbally or via e-mail, how you go about the message will determine whether you are being authentic or not.

Let’s take a look at these examples :

Example 1:

“Hello there. I just wanted to say, you have done an amazing job on the report you drafted for the 4th Quarter. I don’t see anything wrong with it! The only minor thing you might want to consider changing is the introduction to make it more specific to the content in the body paragraphs. I’m happy to make the changes for you if you don’t mind.

Do you see anything wrong with the above example? Obviously, the message is very sweet and pleasant but does it emphasize more on the need for a change or it is simply a “sweet talk”? The truth is, a message like this is not helpful for anyone involved because it fails to hit more on the fact that there is still more work to be done.

Example 2:

“Good job on the report! However, there are two things I think would make it even stronger. How about we restructure the introduction to be more specific to what the report entails to better usher the reader into the content of the body paragraphs. This includes making it known right from the introduction what the report is about. I have some free time later this afternoon if you’d like to discuss further”.

Don’t you just appreciate the second example? Though it communicates the same intended meaning, it is shorter, to the point, helpful, and genuine. If you want to pass on a frank and straight to the point message without being offensive, then example 2 is the way to go.

Make the effort to do a reality check on yourself. Remember, you’re there to do your job and do it well. You’re not there to make everyone else feel happy all the time. Withholding constructive criticism or bending over in an effort to be likable will only do you more harm than good.

Have you had any experience being the “super nice guy” at the office? Share your experiences with us in the comment section below.


Nelly Sadongo-Bawa
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