Do Leaders Need to Be Nice?

How far will being nice really get you? Will it imply weakness? Do employees really expect their leaders to be caring?

In his book, The Magic of Thinking Big, David Schwartz dedicates 13 chapters to acquiring success and influence. My favorite is Think Right Toward People in which he writes “practice liking people until you learn to do so genuinely”.

Although I’m always working at progressing, I made a commitment to develop a servant leader style long ago; most likely because I was a recipient of caring leaders in my young career. And, because it was modeled for me – I have long held the belief that if all other leadership skills were equal such as competency, agility, communication, etc. that nice people have a better shot at ‘making it’ as a leader.

Looking back on my own career, most of what I would label as ‘highlights’ – achieving tough goals or winning in spite of challenges – was usually during those times when I was working for someone I thought truly cared about me. In hindsight, I was contributing at my highest levels when I truly felt valued.

Simon Sinek’s book Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t was named one of the 5 best books of 2014 by Inc. Sinek goes as far as implying caring is a leadership responsibility…

“When a leader embraces their responsibility to care for people instead of caring for numbers, then people will follow, solve problems and see to it that that leader’s vision comes to life. . .”

I don’t like new years resolutions, so I’ll just close in saying that Sinek has given leaders some nourishing food-for-thought for the upcoming year.