…And neither do nice women.
There seems to be a group of people in business (and in life) who simply aren't nice. You know who they are. You've met them. Perhaps you work for them, or with them. Perhaps you listen to them speak. Perhaps they are your neighbor. Or perhaps you married one. In this moment, I want to talk about the people in business who are not nice. The ones who look over your head for someone better to talk to. The ones who look you up and down to assess your value – to them. The ones who are condescending and demeaning – who use their power as a sword over others. The ones who don't see the people who serve them – only the ones who have something they want. The ones who are convinced they are better – that they deserve more – the the world should bow as they pass. The hair flippers.
Being a motivational speaker, I see a lot of attitude. (Not to be confused with confidence. Confidence and haughtiness are two different things. You can still be confident and be nice.) I see a lot of people who have two faces – the one they show their "audience" and the one they show the ones they don't think matter. And I scratch my head wondering how they get to be so successful. Because I truly believe that mean people eventually get what they give. That mean people finish last. And that if you seek to serve with love and grace – even from positions of high authority and prominence – then it will serve you well.
So if you're like me, and you are wondering if it's true that the nice guys finish last, let me just end with these thoughts:
1. Take a look at your friend who married the nice guy – and your friend who married the mean guy with lots of money. Who do you think won?
2. Think about a boss you had who was mean (most of us have had one), and think about one you had that was wonderful. Who did you work harder for? Who were you more loyal too? Who did you earnestly want to please? (Ever heard the adage "People don't quit jobs, they quit people?")
3. Think about the leaders you follow in life and in business. Do you pick mean ones or nice ones to follow? Who do you trust with your future?
4. Let's pretend that you are mean to everybody in your business/office/industry. And now you really need one of them to help you out. How likely are they to come when you call? Now let's pretend that you spend your life giving and helping and sharing your peers in your business/office/industry. Do you think they'll be there when you need them?
5. Let's assume that you are in a business that depends on having customers to keep going. Do you think your customers want you to smile at them, or ignore them? Who's going to get more business – the hateful sales person or the grateful one?
6. What if you had great prominence in your industry, and then yelled at the flight attendant for moving your bag, and suddenly hundreds of people are tweeting about it. Would that affect your business?
7. You're at a networking event, talking to somebody who has no possibility of bringing you any business. Somebody better walks by, and you leave in midsentence. What you didn't know was that person you just snubbed, was about to send you business.
8. What if being mean and nasty – yelling and complaining – berating others and climbing on the backs of the little people actually had a negative impact on your health? What if angry people are more stressed?
9. What if there is somebody above watching everything you do? Somebody who thinks that everybody is equal, and you should love them all as yourself. Somebody who saw you treat that person with disrespect. Do you think that matters?
10. People do business with people they like. And I have yet to like someone mean.
And last, but not least – what if they aren't as mean as you think they are? And perhaps you have wrongly judged?
Those are the thoughts on my mind today, as I fall into the pit of lamenting the injustice of mean people getting ahead. And so today I remind myself that nice guys do finish first – in the long run. And that being kind to others will pay off – but we don't do it to finish first. We do it just because that's who we are. And perhaps showing kindness even when it may not help you come in first, is really what it's all about. And maybe, just maybe, when we love we win.
Update as of 4/22/13: Seems that nice guys still come out on top. I'm seeing this play out over and over again in business and in life. So be nice