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The Downside of a Culture of Nice

BLOG-04.11.13 The Downside of a Culture of Nice - Fierce, Inc. - Fierce, Inc.

I remember when I first started at a previous job and thought, “Wow, everyone is so happy and kind here all the time”. On a typical day, my boss would say good morning to me, remark on how dim it was in the office, and flip on a light. She would then ascend the stairs to her office whistling.

When I walked into my 90-day review I felt confident about my work. I thought I understood what I had been doing well and where I needed to grow. What I didn’t expect was for my manager to have a list of situations where she felt I didn’t listen. “Remember all of those times I turned on the light? I was telling you to put more lights on every day.”

I had completely missed the message.

The issue with a culture of nice is that we talk around topics instead of directly to them. When you do that, the chance to give feedback and grow are completely lost. Instead of having a conversation with me about keeping the office brighter, she hinted at it. This left her frustrated and both myself and the office in the dark.

After my review, the feeling in the office completely shifted for me. A sunny statement was no longer just that. What did she really mean when she said good morning? Not only that, I found myself avoiding having direct conversations, all to maintain a “positive” environment. When faced with working day in and day out in that type of culture, I decided to leave the company.

Does your office suffer from a culture of terminal niceness?


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