In 2011 I attended localgovcamp, an unconference for local government people, held in Birmingham.
On the way back to Leeds a colleague and I were discussing how people who attend these events support each other to learn and try new stuff. By the time we’d reached Nottingham, discussion had moved to the subject of influencing.
I had a flashback to 1988 and the day I left my first job. A female colleague suggested I was ‘too nice’! Not that gender should matter, but perhaps it did that day as the blokes I worked with would not have phrased it the way she did, making it memorable enough to recall all these years later.
I didn’t understand how you could be ‘too nice’. I didn’t see that she was trying to tell me I needed to ‘man up’ as it would benefit me in future life.
Back to 2011, as we passed Sheffield, I finally understood what she meant. In the context of the conversation about influencing, it occurred to me that ‘being nice’ enables you to be popular (which is a good thing) but ‘being effective’ means you have the ability to be influential, gain trust and respect and importantly change things.
Being able to demonstrate you are effective in a considerate way; friendly perhaps, even when doing stuff that people may not be happy with, makes a huge difference.
Being ‘too nice’ had meant not [yet] effective.