In the cutthroat world of business, does it pay to be nice? According to Linda Kaplan Thaler, CEO of The Kaplan Thaler Group, being nice is the surest path to success. Jean talks to Linda about her book, The Power of Nice, and why nice folks finish first.
Linda says being nice is what has made her company one of the nation's fastest-growing advertising agencies. "We didn't do it with fear and intimidation, we did it more with flowers and chocolate," she says.
Linda says her employees are expected to be friendly, polite and kind to everyone they encounter in the workplace—an attitude that has helped the company gain many major accounts. "A lot of it is simply chemistry with clients," she says. "They simply liked us better."
So what exactly does it mean to be nice? Niceness, Linda says, is a set of skills that you can work on, not a predetermined trait. She says "nice" doesn't mean being a doormat or a pushover. "It's not a sign of weakness to be nice—it is a sign of power, it is a sign of strength and it can make you a lot of money," she says.
Linda says there are simple ways to make being nice work for you. For starters, she says to stop thinking of your competitors as enemies. In addition, Linda says you'll get better results if you share credit, rather than hog or, worse yet, steal it from coworkers.
For Linda, what goes around comes around. Smile at coworkers, and they're guaranteed to smile back, she says. "Sweeten the deal" by offering candy or chocolates at meetings, Linda suggests, or give someone a compliment.
According to Linda, the number one reason a person leaves a job is because he or she doesn't feel that their immediate boss is treating them with respect—all the more reason to be nice. Even if there is negativity around you, Linda says to "go from a place of positive goodwill and it always improves the situation."