7 Ways The Nice-Person Boss is Bad for Business

So why is being too nice a business problem? What’s wrong with that, specifically?

Yesterday Jill Geisler offered this list of problems on the Poynter Institute’s website:

  1. Your ideas get overshadowed by others in the organization who are more assertive about making their cases.
  2. Workplace problems fester as you postpone dealing with them.
  3. Mediocrity flourishes as you hold back from challenging underperformers.
  4. Needed change is delayed as you hesitate to nudge people out of their comfort zones.
  5. You do other peoples’ work when they complain about schedules, shifts or duties.
  6. Bullies and bigmouths win.
  7. You can lose respect — from your bosses, other managers, your staff — or all of them.

I wish I’d had this list last Fall when I posted Nice People Can be Bad Bosses Too on this blog. I wrote then:

I think I did this wrong myself. I think I let being a supposed nice guy interfere with my managing a company. You can’t be liked by all and also optimize performance. Sure, some people work best when left alone and encouraged, but – hard, ugly truth – others lose interest and grow entitled. Good bosses deliver both positive and negative feedback. Good bosses make the company better. Whether they’re liked or not.

Jill said that better than I did, with her list.


  • bill ball says:

    In my previous business, before going into and out of real estate, I remember an employee who later worked for another company telling someone that working for me was like a friendship. I guess even a friend will tell you when you’re wrong or being too nice. It all boils down to communication-thinking about the situation and how to use “constructive criticism.” Rather than attacking the person, attack the problem and help the employee. It truly does not help to be too nice.

  • Jacob Hoopes says:

    Wow, so true. In a business setting, the strength of being nice and cooperative can quickly become a barrier. How many times have I personally been burned by this phenomenon? More times than I care to admit. #1 & #7 are poignant points indeed – thanks for a great post.

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