In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Harry shares his opinion on how to try and strike a balance between being “nice” and “too nice” at work:

How nice should you be at work? We’ve supposedly moved on from the era of the militaristic chief executive who barks orders and threats. Most of us agree: We don’t like jerks. Be kind, we implore our kids. Then we get to the office. We’ve got direct reports to rally, colleagues in other departments to convince and bosses who claim they want honest feedback. Speak with hesitation and you’re ignored. Handle your team with kid gloves and you’re a pushover, not a force to be reckoned with.

“I, personally, think you’re too nice a person to be in the job that you’re in.” That’s what Rep. Greg Murphy (R., N.C.) told Katherine Tai, the lead trade negotiator for the U.S., this spring during a hearing. His comments summed up feedback so many of us, especially women, have heard. We’re too bubbly or kind. We deploy too many apologies or exclamation marks. Yet when we do too little of all that, we’re overly aggressive. “I want to be a nice person,” Sarah Kleinberg, the director of operations at a healthcare consulting firm, told me. She has realized, though, that being nice often makes others feel good, without actually moving a project forward or prompting a team member to improve. “You have to have the level of confidence to be beyond people-pleasing,” she says.

Read the full article here: Don’t Be a Jerk at Work. (But Don’t Be Too Nice, Either.)


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