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5 Traits That Make You Nice But Unsuccessful

5 Traits That Make You Nice But Unsuccessful

As we navigate daily life, it is innate to want others to like us. In order to achieve this goal, some people decide to become overly nice and attempt to please everyone they meet. Even in pop culture, many are more drawn towards movie heroes or novel protagonists who display benevolent and kind characteristics. Allow me to preface the article by stating that there is nothing wrong with being kind-hearted and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

However, there needs to be a balance of not being overly nice at your own personal expense. Instead of succeeding with your goals and getting ahead, being overly kind allows others to treat you like a doormat. There are a few traits that need to be identified and remedied to allow you to identify when you are being overly nice at your own expense.

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1. You find yourself compromising too much and don’t speak up.

In your group of friends or coworkers, do you find your voice often getting lost in the sea of voices? Are there ever times where you hide your true views or opinions because you know it will be the minority opinion?  When you censor your thoughts, you are cheating both yourself and others around you. You are being inauthentic in your social and professional circles.

If you are always seen as someone who agrees with everyone else or rarely speaks up, you are likely to be seen as someone who isn’t contributing to a group’s goals. According to Forbes, individuals who share their ideas more are seen as people who can spark discussion and group-think. In addition, you command more respect from colleagues for having the courage to voice opinion even if it’s not the most popular.

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2. You attempt to make sure everyone around you is happy.

At first this trait seems to paint a wonderful picture demonstrating your benevolent nature. Everyone should like the person who goes around making sure everyone in the group is happy. However, some may fall into the trap of obsessing over everyone’s satisfaction and perception. The fact is in both your business and social lives, you will learn that not everyone is going to be happy with your choices.

You will become known as a simple people-pleaser. People-pleasers also are known as unreliable because they tell people what they want to hear. One example of a successful individual who isn’t overly concerned with the sensitivity of his staff is Chef Gordon Ramsay. He runs a tight ship in the kitchen and is expected to be a vocal leader. When running the pass, he cares about getting the best out of his chefs and motivating through tough love, not coddling feelings.

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3. You place the needs of others before your own.

“Can you stay late to finish the project?” If you always answer yes to every request, you are putting yourself at an inconvenience. It could actually be counterproductive and show others that your time isn’t valuable. As Steve Jobs would exemplify, you need to spend your time and effort judiciously. Successful people know when to say no to projects or efforts unworthy of their skills or time.

4. You avoid conflict and remain on the sidelines

Anytime tempers flare or voices rise, are you always there to settle it? You need to begin to learn that it is not your responsibility to always be a peacemaker. Sure there are times to be diplomatic, but if you are always there to solve everything, you will be taken advantage of. Sometimes conflict and arguments are necessary to create productivity and negotiate compromises. As Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated, the worst action during times of conflict that tests morals and values is to take no stance.

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5. You don’t use your authoritative voice.

If you find yourself in a leadership position or a role of authority, you find it difficult to speak with clarity and confidence. A leader who has an authoritative voice and defined goals is more respected than someone who shies away from responsibility. It is more respectable to set up boundaries and maintain frame with an authoritative voice.

Featured photo credit: Financial Times Photos via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Mark Ortega

Professor of English

10 Things Only People Who Seldom Get Angry Would Understand 5 Traits That Make You Nice But Unsuccessful

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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