In this article, the author warns about the hazards of a “nice” company culture. While a laudable goal, a company can “niceness” too far and result in dysfunction simmering beneath the surface. An insistence on politeness can result in a lack of honest communication, intellectual bravery, and accountability. If we’re concerned our organization’s culture has veered into ‘toxic’ niceness, he suggests these tactics:
- Reset expectations. Be explicit that we want people to give candid feedback and ask tough questions. This change won’t be easy so clearly explain the organization’s current state, future state, and how the transition between the two will work.
- Demonstrate vulnerability. Don’t expect others to usher in a new era of truth-telling if we haven’t modeled the behavior first. We must be the first mover, demonstrating fallibility, and showing people that candor is rewarded.
- Provide air cover for people who speak up. When people do express dissenting views let’s not reprimand them, but thank them.
In our era of political correctness, I found his effort to question if our company cultures might become ‘too nice’ refreshing. If you find yourself in need of defining or redefining your company culture as part of your Strategic Planning and Execution process, give us a call. We’re here to listen and help.