Are You Being Nice or Kind? 

by | May 30, 2024 | Leadership

Leaders, are you being nice or kind? I recently talked with another leader about giving feedback and creating a great culture.   

A few weeks ago I discussed building a great culture on the Small Giants Growing with Purpose Podcast with Paul Spiegelman.   

Sometimes, people mistake a great culture for being nice, thinking everyone must be happy and always get what they want. I disagree; there’s a difference between being nice and being kind.  

Being kind means I care about you. Because I care about you, I’ll give you feedback, coaching, support, guidance and opportunities. Pouring into people is kindness.   

Sometimes, being nice means avoiding tough conversations, not providing helpful coaching or challenging people appropriately. You’re nice because you want to keep everyone happy, but that doesn’t help people grow.  

I’m obviously not advocating for being mean when giving feedback. John Maxwell, a leadership guru I’ve followed for years, advises giving feedback with love. This means delivering it with care because from the heart with care and love.   

I sometimes have an intense tone, so I’m mindful when providing feedback, whether at Service Express or with my family. I try to speak from the heart with care and love, keeping in mind what’s best for the person I’m coaching.  

There’s a difference between being nice and being kind. Great leaders don’t aim for everyone to like them. In a recent Tweet, Tim Tebow shared, “Being ‘liked’ doesn’t make you a great leader. What makes a great leader is the respect you gain by encouraging, inspiring, and empowering others to be the best they can be.”   

As leaders, sometimes you have to share feedback that someone doesn’t want to hear. They’ll respect and appreciate you if you do it from the right perspective and with the right tone to help coach and develop them. If you genuinely care about your people, you need to have these tough conversations.  

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About Me

I am the President & CEO of Service Express, a National Best & Brightest Company to Work For. Service Express has averaged double digit growth every year since 2001.

We attribute our success to a unique corporate culture that we call The Service Express Way. I am a member of the Young President Organization and sit on the Board of the Spectrum Health Foundation.