This week’s #WednesdayWisdom comes from the Daily Coach email blog and talks about “Kind vs Nice:”
It’s Tuesday morning, and Susan has already completed her project due at the end of the week.
It’s 50 pages, has several colorful graphics, and quotes some important sources.
“I think I did an awesome job,” she tells her colleague John. “I really think I might get a promotion for it.”
But when John examines it, he notices that the first page has two typos, one of the graphics is blurry, and she has a pie chart that adds up to 102 percent.
John, however, knows Susan has worked hard and doesn’t want to offend her, so he says, “Nice job. I like it a lot.”
On Sunday, organizational psychologist and best-selling author Adam Grant tweeted an important leadership thought:
“The people who are nice to you aren’t always being kind to you.”
While kind and nice are certainly related, they’re far from the same — and it’s important we understand the distinction.
• saying what the other person wants to hear
• sugarcoating feedback to make someone feel good
• not ruffling feathers because we don’t like conflict
• prioritizing short-term appeasement over long-term solution
• being a truth teller
• sharing what needs to be heard
• finding praiseworthy elements while pointing out what must
• being candid to improve future performance
Too often, we fear that negative feedback will make us come off as mean or ungrateful, and conclude that maybe it’s best to hold off.
But if our teams are going to improve and reach their lofty goals, we can’t always be “nice.”
Producing the greatest product possible almost always involves a degree of conflict or criticism. The key is to deliver this with a general compliment, then some specifics or a counterexample of what must improve. Doing so isn’t causing a storm or rocking the boat.
It may actually mean we’re keeping it afloat.