Nice guys don't finish last! - Michelle Gibbings

There’s a famous saying “Nice guys finish last”.  It’s widely attributed to a US baseball legend Leo Durocher who spent many years as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants.

It’s a saying that has entered popular lexicon. It implies that to be successful you should only look after yourself. It suggests that for you to win – everyone else has to lose.

It advocates selfish, self-serving and at worst, narcissistic behaviour.

It’s a sad reality that in organisations you will see some people adopt this style of behaviour.

Everything they do and say is all about them. They are focused on how they can position themselves for success, at the expense of others.

You also see this play out with organisations when they try and squash smaller players in the market, and use their market power to change their rules to their advantage.

This type of behaviour isn’t necessary, and nor is it sustainable. You don’t need to step over others and push those in front of you out of the way to be successful.

It’s an old fashioned and out dated way of thinking.

The sharing economy, which is rapidly growing (to the extent that PWC estimates it could generate $335 billion in revenue by 2025) is making it more important than ever to find ways to successfully work in partnership with people. Companies are discovering that doing it alone is harder, and reputation matters.

At an individual level, being known as “nice” doesn’t mean you are a “push-over” and that you’ll let everyone walk all over you. It means you treat people with respect and act with integrity. You work to build collaborative partnerships with the people around you. You are kind, considerate and co-operative with others.

And if you wanted a further reason as to why you should collaborate – research has shown that co-operating with others activates the same reward circuitry in your brain as when you eat chocolate or have sex. Pretty awesome stuff!

Being nice to others is simple. And influential leaders know it is the simple things that matter. Being friendly. Saying hello to people in the morning. Celebrating a team member’s birthday. Recognising important milestones for people. Helping others. Remembering it is not always about you.

All of these actions build your personal reputation as someone that people want to know and associate with. It creates relationships that are built on trust and mutual respect. Relationships of this nature are enduring, purposeful and successful. It is relationships like these that can help propel a person’s career forward.

And frankly, wouldn’t it be a much more pleasant and healthier work environment if people were kinder to each other!

So, next time you think you need to push and shove your way to the top, remember that nice people don’t finish last.

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