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If You Don’t Have Something Nice To Say: You’re Hurting Your Agency

My mom used to always tell me “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” While I do break this rule occasionally, I try my best to treat others the way I would like to be treated. Obviously, this is important for your personal life, but did you know being kind could be a best practice at your workplace too?

Personnel failing to treat each other with kindness actually costs companies productivity and revenue. Specifically, The Huffington Post cited that among workers who’ve been on the receiving end of incivility:

  • Four in five lost work time worrying about the incident, or were less committed to the organization.
  • Two thirds said they lost work time avoiding the offender, or that their performance declined.
  • Almost half intentionally decreased their work efforts or the time they spent at work.

Treating your workers with kindness is not just the nice thing to do, it’s the practical thing to do. Yet, being nice is more than not being rude. Huffington Post contributor Erika Anderson says kindness and respect at the workplace means:

  • Giving the person the benefit of the doubt. Do not assume the worst. Assume good intentions.
  • Putting yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you were in their situation? What would you want to hear from a co-worker or manager?

I would add:

  • Be aware of your tone and body language. Relating to another person is not just about what you say, it’s about how you say it.
  • Choose words carefully in emails and other written communication. When you don’t have the opportunity to pair your words with appropriate tone and body language, it is especially important to be clear in written communications so that your recipient feels respected and understood.

What do you think? Should kindness be a priority in the work place? How can we all improve in this field?

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Christine Frazier

Hi Kathryn,

Great article! I agree to a certain extent. Being kind is definitely a good thing, however, everybody is not going to understand kindness. Sometimes you have to be direct. Not rude or insensitive, but direct. Depending on the person or the situation, kindness can be looked at as “softness” or that you are “sugar coating” things and they may not get it. Directness gets the point across and leaves no misinterpretations.

Kathryn David

Good point, Christine. I’m not sure if you’re a fan of Parks and Rec (the comedy series) but there was one character that was so nice people didn’t know when they were being fired or being broken up with, because he did it in such a nice way. There is definitely such a thing as being too nice! Unfortunately, I think there are more people who are not nice enough than too nice!