All posts tagged: Nice Person Syndrome

Take No Prisoners – Issue 4 – Nice Guys Finish First

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Wintrip Consulting Group : Take No PrisonersTake No Prisoners is a free weekly memo from Scott Wintrip that explores how Radical Accountability prospers companies and changes lives. Instead of taking people hostage with outdated, heavy-handed, and ineffective methods of management, measurement, and motivation, Radical Accountability focuses on creating an unwavering responsibility for getting what matters most done.

Nice Guys Finish First

Last week, I received a large response to David’s story in Issue No. 003, Fear Your Salesperson. In particular, readers wanted to learn more about Nice Person Syndrome.

Being a nice person becomes a liability when leaders engage in Employee Neglect, the workplace equivalent of child neglect. Employee Neglect occurs when leaders:

  • Are not consistently holding team members accountable.
  • Justify or make excuses when expectations are not being met.
  • Delay or avoid reprimands or terminations that are prudent and necessary.

Engaging in Employee Neglect keeps people from reaching their true potential and hampers their ability to make a full contribution in jobs. Yet, managers are often inconsistent in requiring employees to consistently meet or exceed their quotas and commitments. Why? It does not feel nice to hold someone else accountable.

Nice Person Syndrome is cunning, common, and contagious since, in the moment, avoiding the discomfort of holding someone accountable feels much more comfortable. Yet, this comes back to bite everyone involved - the employee is not on track, the authority of the leader is undermined, and the company is not getting what it paid for.

So, what’s a nice guy, or gal, to do? You can’t turn off being a nice person, nor should you. The first thought of a nice person, more often than not, will almost always focus on all the reasons to avoid accountability conversations. So be it. You are not responsible for your first thought; you simply must take the next right action. Changing your thinking is difficult, if not impossible. However, we are in complete control of the choices we make and the actions we take.

Nice guys, and gals, really do finish first, as do their employees. As long as they let their actions, not their thinking, guide them through the day.

This Week’s Radical Accountability Activating Action: Remember that you are not responsible for your first thought, but you are responsible for doing the next right thing. Watch for those thoughts and then immediately do what’s needed in the most compassionate way you can.


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Scott WintripTake No Prisoners – Issue 4 – Nice Guys Finish First
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Nice Person Syndrome

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A year ago, I wrote about NPS – Nice Person Syndrome, a “condition” most managers have that causes inconsistent accountability. To help you assess if you have NPS, answer the following questions:

1. Are staff not held consistently accountable in your firm?

2. Do you come up with justifiable reasons when expectations are not met?

3. Are reprimands or terminations delayed or do not happen at all?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you have at least a mild form of NPS.  Don’t worry, it’s not terminal.

To succeed as a salesperson or recruiter, you have to be a nice enough person (or able to fake nice) to build relationships.  These same nice people end up as managers and, as managers, it does not feel nice to hold other people accountable.  That’s why virtually every manager has some degree of NPS.  The nicer you are as a person, the worse your NPS tends to be.

Sharon, a manager who read that post, took this to heart and immediately began watching for specific instances where her NPS showed up. “I was amazed how many times each week my NPS was running the show,” said Sharon. To combat this, she began some coaching with me and we discussed specific strategies to counter this issue. “The most important thing you shared was that I am not responsible for my first thought, but I am responsible for my next action. My first thought is often how much I dislike holding people accountable. My next action was to do it anyways because, if I don’t, I will be contributing to their failure.” Within three months of our work together, Sharon had improved the productivity of her team by more than 40%.

The important thing to recognize is that feeling discomfort at holding other people accountable is normal, with reprimands, layoffs, and firings feeling even worse.  Life is full of things we don’t like, yet we do them anyways.  Even though it may not feel good, holding others to a standard that will help them succeed is the right and compassionate thing to do.

Scott WintripNice Person Syndrome
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