“You are too nice,” I was told. “They do not think you can be tough when you need to be."
I had applied for a promotion, and I did not get it.
Kindness. They had to be kidding.
But I had heard it before. I would later learn that this happens more frequently to people than I ever expected.
Far too often, people underestimate kindness. Some equate it to a sign of weakness.
They believe that when a situation calls for toughness, us “nice people” would be too weak to effectively respond.
What I learned throughout my career, however, was that kindness was a trait that made me effective.
After 15 years of leading federal criminal investigators in three different settings I got more accomplished through the relationships I built than I ever did by screaming and acting “tough.”
I cared about the people under my command, and this created trust. Trust opens doors, even the difficult ones. When I did get “tough,” the impact was greater.
In other words, when the nice guys gets mad, you better figure out why.
Kindness does not mean you cannot be assertive. Or question a decision. Or discipline people that have taken advantage of you.
But kindness does allow you to build a culture that fosters growth.
And that matters.
- Brian Townsend, Eagle 6 Training