Business Strategy | Ethics & Professional Issues | Leadership / Management

Why be nice? Because what goes around comes around.

My 10-year-old daughter came to me tonight in tears.

The reason? She's in 5th grade, and she has a friend with a mean streak.

Check that. This "friend" doesn't have a mean streak. She's just flat-out mean, and tonight, she was mean to my daughter.

That in itself is bad enough. Mean people suck, and when they're mean to you, they suck even more.

What's worse, though, is this: My wife and I have spent the past 10 years teaching our daughter the importance of being nice and treating others well, and tonight she learned the hard way that other people don't always play by those rules. I have no doubt she went to bed asking herself, "Why should I be nice when other people treat me like dirt?"

The answer I gave her, in so many words, was this: What goes around comes around.

If you're nice to others, they'll be nice to you. If you treat others with dignity and respect, they'll return the favor. If you trust and empower your employees, they'll work their asses off for you.

And if you're a jackass who gets off on bringing others down? Well, guess what's coming your way.

Being nice is its own reward, friends. It's really that simple.

Before my daughter retreated to her bedroom, I told her two things.

  1. Life's too short to spend time with mean people. Hang out with nice people instead.
  2. Be the person that other people want to hang out with. Be nice.

Nice guys don't finish last. They finish first. I believe that with every fiber of my being.

For my daughter's sake -- hell, for the sake of all of us -- I hope I'm right.


Bill Sheridan