There’s been some debate lately about being nice and likable as a competency. Not being one to shy away from a good debate, I have something to say about this topic…
I kinda view “nice” and “likable” as the same thing. So, while being nice is … well, um … nice, I don’t believe being likable is a key competency. As a business person, there are plenty of attributes I’d put above nice and likable on the competency spectrum.
One of them is honest. I’ve seen plenty of people who are nice but no one believes a word they say. Reminds me of the term, “all flash and no substance.” I’ve said this before: you can be forgiven for a lot of things but once you lose a person’s trust, I’m not sure you can ever get it back. On the other hand, I’ve known plenty of people who are direct, brash, and maybe even some days a real jerk … but I never questioned their honesty. People might find dealing with them completely exasperating and might disagree with their methods, but people knew where they stood and didn’t question their motives or intent.
Another one is results-oriented. There’s something to be said about people who get things done (think Bill Clinton). If you’re nice and people like you but you don’t accomplish squat, I’m not sure how that translates into a long and successful career. And, if everyone in your organization is “nice” but you don’t hit your goals, well…I’m not sure you’ll be in business very long.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not endorsing pure evil. But let’s face it…some people hide behind nice instead of having a tough conversation or making a difficult decision. Why does that happen? Maybe it’s because when people have those tough conversations, they’re labeled “not nice” because it’s easier to blame the messenger than hold ourselves accountable.
Sure, in an ideal world, we all want everyone we deal with to be honest, results-oriented, and nice. But, if all you can do in this world is be nice, what happens when that doesn’t get the job done?
I’d like to hear what you think on this. Let me know in the comments below.0