Business Magazine

Maybe You Should Stop Being (Too) Nice

By 2centsricher

Maybe You Should Stop Being (Too) Nice

On some level or another we all like to be liked. We try to be on other people’s good side because it gives us a sense of belonging and because, at the end of the day, we are social beings and, for the most part, we enjoy having social validation and approval.

The problem.

The problem is that sometimes our attempts to gain people’s sympathies make us do things we don’t want to do, say things we don’t want to say, commit to things we don’t want to commit to…you get the idea. This happens both in social and professional scenarios. For now, I want to focus on the work environment.

Believe me, I know. We all have things to do. We are all busy. We have objectives to accomplish, quotas to fill, results to produce. And it is hard. In today’s environment it is difficult to keep up. People expect you to have an instant response to the email they just sent you or the voicemail they left you two minutes ago. However, there are always people who manage to meet and surpass expectations. I have a special respect for people who get things done. I admire them. I try to learn from them.

The common thread.

In my experience, there is a common factor among these high achievers. In most cases it is one of the first words we learned when we were babies. They know when and how to say NO. It sounds simple, but it is not easy. We are often too afraid to say no when people come asking for our attention on issues that we know will take our efforts away from what we should be doing to produce our own results. You know, you don’t want to be “that prick” or “that bitch”.

I know it is not easy, saying no to people and standing up for ourselves sometimes goes against what we were taught or what we think is socially acceptable. Now, I don’t mean for you to start being an actual prick (unless you already are, in which case, please stop it), all I am saying is that it is time to stop worrying about what other people think of you for a second if you need to say no or speak up. I do ask you to give it a try. Maybe you need to take baby steps. Here is the challenge: Next time you are completely swamped and someone asks for your help or requires your attention start by politely asking if what they need can wait for a bit as you need some time to finish whatever it is that you are doing. I think it is a fair request. More often than not people will get the gist that you are busy and (should) not think any less of you. In fact I think that they will feel a new sense of respect for you. I can guarantee that taking these small steps will also help you to improve your productivity and quality of work as you will be able to invest the necessary time.

Let’s start with that and then we can move on to more serious business like saying ‘no’ when someone asks you to take on another project that you know you can’t handle or that will put you in bad spot with all your other commitments.

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