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Why Being Too Nice Sabotages Your Career or Business

Updated: Oct 28, 2019

As a kid, the adults around you may have taught you this: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Although it’s intended to teach cooperation and empathy, a child’s first lesson for handling tough situations is to sweeten or stifle their communication. As a result, 8-year olds grow into 18-year old who lack skills for engaging in difficult conversations in ways that are authentic and productive.

4 unproductive behaviors

Difficult conversations are unavoidable in the workplace. Managers, employees, and clients are required to give feedback, but most do so unskillfully, or in a way that makes them “easy to work with” rather than delivering real results. Here are 4 unproductive behaviors:

  1. Indirect communication, i.e., beating when making a request or giving feedback.

  2. Inauthenticity, i.e., forcing a “compliment sandwich”.

  3. Defensive or accusatory language, i.e., feedback is given unskillfully and interpreted negatively by the receiver.

  4. Avoidance, i.e., not addressing difficult issues like under performance.

If a person has bad experiences whenever they have a difficult conversat