There is nothing wrong with being nice
If you’ve never read the “Corner Office” feature in the Saturday edition of The New York Times, it is worth checking out. The last one was a real gem, because it hit so many key points that resonate with me.
- The two questions the Levy Restaurants CEO (Andy Lansing) asks every job candidate. (“Are you nice?” “Are you passionate?”)
- Reflections on leadership and where the boss’s “power” really comes from. (Not from position, but from “personal power.”)
- The role of curiosity in learning and succeeding. (Asking questions.)
This really hits home with my blog co-editor, who often says, “There is nothing wrong with being nice.” Lansing agrees. In fact, he says, there is something wrong with NOT being nice, and it really matters. Apparently you can be nice and be successful, which is really important in our high-pressure, “always-on” work environment, where “nice” can get left out, if considered at all. Lansing, in fact, traces being nice to the root of where successful leaders get their power. He says there is “personal power” that comes from earning real respect and “positional power” that you get just because you are the boss.
Lansing tells Adam Bryant of The Times: “If you give me someone who’s nice and who’s passionate, I can teach them everything else. I don’t care what school you went to, I don’t care where you worked before. If you give me someone with those two traits, they will nine out of 10 times be a great success in the company.”