Is Being Nice Just for Idiots?

After Steve Jobs passed away, there were many stories about his great accomplishments. And there were assertions that he was not a very nice person. He may have been nice to his family, but apparently, he was hell on wheels at work. A scary dude.

Some asked whether this proved that being nice was just for losers. that being a nasty boss was more effective. In fact, it is an old, old discussion. But what about data? Well, perhaps we have some data now

Adam Grant’s data shows that nice guys (and gals!) can actually finish first, as long as they use the right strategies that prevent others from taking advantage of them.In fact, other research has shown that acts of altruism actually increase someone’s status within a group..

And why does this work? The key — as it turns out — has little to do with being nice or nasty. It is about building trust. Employers who build trust among their workers get better work.

And this applies more generally.  Building trust — even in conflict — leads to better management.

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