Why It's Nice To Be Nice at Work

(And everywhere else, while you’re at it.)

You might have heard the phrase ‘Nice Guys Finish Last’ used by your friendly neighbourhood incel or the tyrannical Wall Street boss in a badly aged 90’s comedy. The saying was actually coined by American baseball player Leo Durocher in reference to how you can be nice on the field, or win - but never both. Ever. (Sure, we're paraphrasing heavily, but you get the gist).

Point is, we’re not really of the same opinion as ol’ Leo What’s His Name. In fact, we’re Team Nice Guy all the way - both in the workplace, and out of it. 

Here’s why.

Sure, we’d all rather be eating Chuckles by the ocean than doing actual work for a living. But until Chat GPT comes for all of our jobs, we’re in it together. And “it” can be stressful. And busy. And demanding. And sometimes, seemingly thankless. Which is why a little kindness, courtesy and positivity goes a heck-of-a long way.

People will remember you. 

You may have a perma-gig or freelance work now, but that doesn’t mean you always will - and when you’re looking for new prospects, your reputation is what will truly matter. Sure, your professional offering counts heavily - but being a nice, cordial person is more likely to get your name mentioned when an old chom’s company needs a new hire.

Kindness helps us navigate conflict.

The best decisions are often made through disagreement, and yet we seem to be becoming less and less equipped to deal with it. The key to resolving conflict and reaching mutual consensuses is kindness. 

Cultivating a culture where positive intent is the default means that less time is wasted taking things personally or tip-toeing around what needs to be said. When the personal aspect is removed from feedback, it invites people to see missteps as opportunities for learning, not indications of their own shortcomings.

A kinder you = a happier you! 

Although not quite on the same scale as what’s portrayed in Apple TV’s hit thriller Severance, we do think about our professional and personal lives as separate realms to some extent. But in reality, how we conduct ourselves at work directly impacts how we feel at home.

Lucky for you (and everyone else at the office), a culture of kindness, courtesy and trust increases general happiness and lowers stress levels. The knock-on effect? Lower stress levels perpetuate higher emotional regulation capabilities, which means you’re more likely to keep your cool when a client calls you up at 5:45pm on a Friday asking you to make the logo bigger (or when you arrive home afterwards to stage 6289 loadshedding - again).

Plus, nobody wants to work with a douche. Obviously.

But they’re also less likely to remember you if you’re generally indifferent towards others. Plus, having a good rapport with your colleagues can make work life a little easier or even *gasp* fun. Some silly office banter or having a friend to offload on when you’re super stressed can mean the difference between a good work day, or a crappy one.

Our advice? Be genuinely happy for peoples’ wins. Post memes on the work group. Get involved with after-work hangs. Say happy birthday, congratulations on your engagement, well done on your promotion, cute skirt - and mean it. Not just because you’ll be known as someone who’s nice to work with, but because it’s the decent thing to do.

Disclaimer: there’s a difference between being nice and being a pushover.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t chuck in a sneaky disclaimer that, sometimes, being nice is not the best approach. Some conversations - like asking for a raise, putting work-life boundaries in place, or standing up to a tricky colleague - require a stronger stance. In these instances, showcasing steadfastness in contrast to our usually sunshiney demeanour can make our demands that much more heard and respected. Go, you!

And that’s about it, folks. If you’ve read thus far, thank you - that’s awfully nice of you. Now go tell Liezel from HR that her boujee new balayage is bangin’. It’ll make her day.


Need more career advice? Hit us up. 

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