How Being Nice Guides Your Improved Performance
It’s interesting how many people interpret being nice as also being a ‘pushover’ and one who will accept anything. Judgment misses the fact that being nice can be the quiet style of leadership that motivates others to improved performance.
The qualifiers I use for being ‘nice’ include:
- Engaged listening and questioning to learn more
- Treating everyone as equals
- Performing with integrity.
But there are times when none of the above works although you do your best to help improve performance.
At times, the quiet leader may see guidance is in order. As an entrepreneur, I had to move from just the sales mentality over to blending in the disciplines of marketing, social media and public relations. Likewise, John saw an opportunity to move from his traditional niche to hosting an event. He diligently hired a company to do his marketing which was a smart move. However, questions quickly arose as a traditional email campaign came my way.
To my dismay, the buttons for sharing the event news on social media were missing. I suggested to John that he make the buttons available. The marketing company agreed to add the symbolic buttons for sharing. But, I was shocked to see that the added links directed readers to the marketing company’s newsletter subscription page instead. Promotion of the event was bypassed entirely. I suggested that John investigate the matter, but nothing was done to change the links.
Valuable time for publicly sharing the event was lost over many months.
Then one day a new style newsletter arrived with appropriate share buttons. Happily, I clicked on the first link attached to Twitter. Sadly, two blatant errors were in the making. The automated message eliminated any call to action. Instead, the message stated, “I’m going to this event.”
My reaction is, “so what and who cares?” Even worse, the link was about 100 character spaces long. A shorter link enables a more meaningful message. Once again, I attempted to guide John. As a friend, I messaged him in a ‘nice and friendly tone’ to let him know the latest issue with the share buttons. I stepped up a second time because I want to see him and his event succeed. I took it upon myself to shorten the link with the use of bit.ly and sent it to John.
The worst scenario is that the marketing companies did not have the event’s best interest in mind only to provide a poor service. The question of ‘greed’ along with the phrase, ‘take the money and run’ comes to mind. No one can dispute that a better-versed marketing company should have been employed for the event.
Occurrences like these are great reminders as to why we each need to stay on top of the services for which we hire out. And before we enter into any agreement, it’s wise to become familiar with the better strategies upfront so that we may recognize the more adept companies to employ.
The saga is a good reminder that we can all use friendly tips now and then!
No doubt, you have seen errors in your work experience. Many people become too timid to speak up for fear of being bullied or even fired. Entrepreneurs sometimes concern themselves with what the person and potentially others will think if they provide an opinion that will not be well-received.
Where do you see yourself when a need arises to speak up:
- Do you shy away from expressing your opinion?
- Do you reveal the problem but offer no solution?
- Are you able to mentor and guide others to improved performance?
Rules for Stepping Up
- First and foremost, ‘be nice’ by using diplomacy.
- Explain the problem and then offer one or more possible solutions.
- Never talk down to others but guide others to improved understanding.
Factually presenting your viewpoint with the bigger vision held for all parties, most often it will be accepted. And this is where the sales mindset meets the nice approach to business; the ability to adapt to either ‘no’ or ‘yes’ is essential.
Stepping up includes working for the noble purpose of being helpful. As long as you believe 100% that your opinion or insight is of help, and works for the greater good, then it does not matter whether it is rejected or accepted. You did your best by being the thoughtful leader.
- Do not allow anything to slide that does not appear right.
- Question activities that are on your mind.
- Ask why troubling procedures are in place to gain full understanding.
- Offer ideas to correct the course of action that bothers you.
- Attempt to mentor and guide in a friendly tone as needed.
- As you give help, ask for feedback to further improve your style.
- Share the insights you believe to be helpful.
- Follow those who help you and share their insights.
- Use online platforms as a collaborative tool so that more people learn and grow.
- Celebrate Success!
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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