Is There Such a Thing as Being Too Nice?

One of my daily fees is Intuit’s Small Business Blog. If you are not familiar with it, you should be. This is the blog that is part of Intuit’s Small Business Division – and shouldn’t be confused with the blog that I work on, Intuit Accountants News Central. That one is part of Intuit’s Accounting Professionals Division.

Ok – enough of the back story. Today’s news feed had an interesting story, “Are You Too Nice to Lead Your Small Business?” This caught my eye because I think I (accent on that I) a small business and I’m not sure there is any validity to being “too nice.”

I think “niceness” comes in all forms, shapes & sizes, and it certainly depends on the situation as to whether you’re being “too nice.” For example, am I being too nice when I wait 60 days to get paid on an invoice that was net 30? Sure, this is part of my income, but perhaps there’s some very valid reason as to why a client hasn’t paid. This has happened to me many times – and probably every other business owner reading this. I know in my heart of hearts that the client is good for the money; it’s just a matter of time in processing the payment.

I’m sure you’re shaking you’re head horizontally at that example. After all, shouldn’t the A/P process be very straightforward? Not always.

I have countless other examples about being nice. Never burn a bridge, even if the bridge appears to be hopelessly in disrepair. Never shout at a client, even when all you want to do is take them out to sea and turn the boat over. Never stand for shoddy work on their part, even when you’ve stood on your head trying to get them to change the way they do something.

The list goes on and on. Sure, a business owner is kind of like a parent – something I learned long ago about having a happy mix of strong parenting skills with strong compassion. To me, that’s what a business owner should be – not necessarily overly “nice,” but someone who thinks twice before reacting to a situation.

3 comments to Is There Such a Thing as Being Too Nice?

  • janet

    Yes, there is such a thing as being “too nice.” In my experience, some individuals respond better to straight, unvarnished talk, which wouldn’t be considered “too nice” in our culture.

  • Great point, Janet. Generational differences also may be part of the picture.

  • Jan

    I like Janet use the “straight talk”. Sometimes that does not tend to work and continue on with the client for whatever reason. At the point you become and enabler.

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