We often say someone is kind when we mean he’s nice.
A nice person is polite, smiles and pats us on the back. They are agreeable and regularly exchange pleasantries. No doubt, they make us feel good if even for a short while.
On the other hand, being kind means doing what’s best for someone. It means being objective and recognizing what’s best for them in the long run even if it’s not nice.
In treating others, we must strive to be both nice and kind. But often these two qualities conflict.
Last month, our sales team didn’t meet their targets. Though I wanted to be nice to keep spirits up, I felt I had to be more honest, which meant I had to ‘say it as it is’. We had more than enough goods and our marketing efforts in that month were sufficient for them to meet their targets. However, they didn’t.
I felt that since coming back from holidays they had slackened their efforts. What I said wasn’t nice. They were shocked. But I think I was kind to them in the long-term. The business world is ruthless and when we reduce our efforts slightly, we lose momentum and find ourselves playing catch up.
Other times, many of us act nice but not kind out of comfort. We often accept another’s misguided belief even if we disagree with it. We don’t want to have that hard conversation. We don’t want to rock the boat. We want to remain in their good books.
The truth is when we act nice to make things well in the short-term and not kind — which works better in the longer-term — means that we are short-changing both ourselves and those we communicate with.
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