"Change, when it comes, cracks everything open."
Dorothy Allen

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Because Nice Matters

I have the title of this post on a decorative board in my front hallway.  You see it as soon as you walk into my house.  I put it there as a reminder to myself and also as a reminder to people coming to visit.

I believe it with my whole heart.

I recently participated in leadership training at work.  It was 6 sessions long, and by the end of the sessions you had to complete your own journey line and TPOV.  What is a TPOV, you might ask?  Good question, because I had absolutely NO idea either when I started.

Basically your TPOV is your Teachable Point Of View.  It is a quick summary of your beliefs and ethics and motivations when it comes to your leadership and work style.  It's an interesting concept.  Every session we would have Senior Executives come in and present their own journey line and TPOV.  That was always the most interesting part of the session for me.  It humanized them so much, it was amazing sometimes.

Anyway, I mention this because one of the points in my TPOV was "Nice Matters".  And what I mean by that is this:  too many people take pride in "telling it like it is" or "having no filter".  They enjoy "sticking to the facts, and not letting emotions get involved".  They think it makes them better leaders.  I call bullshit on this.  Most people use these phrases and attitude to be mean and selfish.  They have given themselves a reason to not be concerned with the thoughts and feelings of others. By being nice in leadership, this means that you can still deliver the message that needs to be said, to manage the issues and the people that are underachieving or overwhelming.  But you can do it nicely.  You can have respect.  You can use empathy.  You can be nice.   People want to continue to work with nice people.  People try to avoid bitches, no matter now good they are at their job.  No one wants the drama.

I do know some people that can be truthful without being mean.  That number however is very small (2 that I can think of right now, off the top of my head.)  One of them, my friend Michelle, can be VERY blunt and will say things to you that everyone else will pussyfoot around.   But somehow, she doesn't ever make me feel bad or like I have been put down.  I think because, in her heart of hearts, she is not being malicious.  She is being truthful.  When she tells you that your interview was bad, or that you aren't suited for a job, or what you just said or did made no sense, she isn't doing it with a bad feeling behind it.  She isn't saying it with a hidden, secret agenda, about making you feel worse and herself feel better.  It isn't said in a mocking tone, she doesn't laugh at you afterwards, and she doesn't share it with everyone else.  She honestly will tell you that because she wants you to improve and become a better person.  And I respect the sh*t out of her for that.  She inspires me to be more honest.  (Thanks doll, for the inspiration! <3)

Anyway, Nice Matters.  I truly believe that it does.  It makes me sad that to many people, the word nice has become synonymous with wishy-washy, spineless, docile.  People think of the whole "nice guys finish last".  Wimps and nerds are nice, but no one wants to date them.  Everyone wants the bad boy.  The one that makes you feel bad, and pushes you aside, but deep down, you know he is really a good guy, if only you could just reach him (I know this is true, the whole "Twilight"/"50 Shade of Grey" disaster is based on this mentality.  It makes me weep for the future of our girls).

Whatever.  Give me the nice boy any day of the week. I have enough scars, don't need any more.

I don't believe that "nice" means that you are wishy washy.  I like to think that I am a nice person.  I am considerate to other people's thoughts and feelings.  I won't argue a point, just for the sake of arguing.  If someone has made a mistake, or said something incorrect, I won't correct them and embarrass them, if it is really no big deal.  If someone likes something that I don't, I will never let them know.  I will certainly never mock them or call whatever it is that they like or are interested in "boring", "stupid" or any other of a number of deroatory terms.

I will talk to them about their interest or whatever it is, because it's important to them, and being right, or different, or having my opinion be the only one out there- that isn't important to me.  I am not so insecure in my self worth or my own point of view that I would have to demolish someone else, to make myself secure, more sure of myself, and happier.  It wouldn't make me happy; it would embarrass me to act that way.  I would rather that person walks away feeling good about themselves and the conversation, than for me to have coldly and blindly dismissed what they were saying, since it was different than what I thought.

Now, don't think that this makes me docile or passive.  When I want something bad enough, I will move mountains to get it.  When I get angry enough, or feel attacked or threatened, I will stand up for myself, my kids, my family, my friends.  You won't like that.  I will not allow others to be bullied.  I will not put up with incompetence, laziness, prejudice.  If you push me hard enough and long enough, I will go toe to toe with you. You won't like that either. The first time people see me angry- really, truly angry- I think they are shocked.  It is definitely not the norm, and it can be a little disconcerting, especially for me.
I will promote myself relentlessly and make sure that my contribution and efforts are recognized for what they are.  Being nice just means that I won't put you down to make myself look better.  I will work on myself, to make sure I stand out, even when you might already be a superstar.

Anyway, I have had some examples lately of people being "not nice" and that is what prompted this blog post.  It weighs on my mind.  It bothers me.

It bothers me because they don't see anything wrong with it.
It bothers me, because they justify it in their own heads.
It bothers me that they are supposed to be adults, grown and responsible, and yet still act like teenagers, with no control over emotions, their mouths or their actions.
It bothers me that they won't take responsibility for what their nonsense does to the people around them.

So, tomorrow, the next day, this week, this month- try and be nice.  Try to think about others.  Try to look at something from someone else's point of view.  Try to zip your lip once in a while and just listen.  Try to bite back the sarcasm, the witty retort, the criticism, the complaint, the swear word, the anger.

Try and be nice.  You might be surprised.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "Nice matters".


  1. That's pretty deep... and makes me reflect on my own actions/thoughts/words. I never intend to hurt anyone with what I say/do, but we've pretty much determined that I don't have that filter installed that keeps me from saying things I shouldn't... "tact" - yea, that. don't have it. LOL
    At least behind the keyboard and a screen, I can implement that filter with the backspace button...

    1. Thanks for the comment, Connie. Tact is a good word and one I was searching for. I think everyone has the ability, maybe it's the movitivation that we are sometimes lacking?? ;)