You’ve had a row with your spouse, shouted at the children on the way to school and when you arrive at work there is nowhere to park your car. You walk into the office, sit down at the desk and you just want to be left alone.
We all have those sorts of days.
It is true to say that there are some days when you feel like being nice to those around you … and there are other days when you just cannot be bothered. Your colleague walks past your desk with a cheery “good morning” and you just grunt as he walks by.
“Got out of bed the wrong side did you?” he says, and you raise your eyes up to the heavens. Why can’t people just leave you alone …
Now, this isn’t how you usually are, but today you are not in the mood to be sociable. You just don’t feel like it. You can’t be nice and cheery every day — can you?
And that is fine and everyone will respect your occasional mood swings, but when they become a habit, people might start keeping their distance from you.
Being nice to employees and co-workers isn’t just good karma, it’s good for business. So what does ‘nice’ mean?
It is a very small word that usually encapsulates being kind, generous, pleasant, respectable, friendly and, maybe, even forgiving. You are the type of person who usually treats people the way they would like to be treated themselves.
However, you shouldn’t be seen as ‘too nice’ as people could easily take advantage of you and you don’t want that to happen.
Many people say that they feel better in themselves when they are nice to others — more relaxed and confident. And being nice is a part of being professional.
So why is being nice good for you?
Well, for a start it can help you feel less stressed. When you are angry or upset, your body senses the change and prepares you for a mental battle or fight. Suddenly you are on a ‘short fuse’. Everything that people say to you just annoys you and makes you feel even more stressed.
On the other hand, when you are in a happy mood, you will probably have more energy. The act of being nice to others will engender positive feelings that can minimise stress and enhance resilience.
Being nice to people usually means being liked by others. We all want to be with those who are sensitive, caring and kind and the chances are that the larger the social network you have, the happier and more productive you will be.
Imagine it is early Tuesday morning and you have a problem with your computer. You need some specialist help from the IT department and you have an important deadline to meet. You call them only to hear that they are too busy to help you.
However, if you had been appreciative for their help in the past and made time to speak to them when walking around the office, you may find that even though they are really busy, they might just have the time to help you out.
Being compassionate and helpful to others not only makes you likeable but it will also give you a serotonin boost — the neurotransmitter hormone that leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction and contentment.
It feels good when you help others — that wonderful feeling of helping a colleague meet a deadline or helping a mother with her child in a buggy at the metro. Offering to make the coffee in the office and appearing with doughnuts for the team just because you wanted to do so. Being nice will leave you with a warm feeling and a huge smile on your face.
So why would you not want to be nice. Think about it. It’s not only good for others.
It’s good for you also and the business, and your family. So all that is left for me to say is, ‘Have a really nice day …’
• Everyone likes those who smile — it’s contagious.
• Customers like to deal with friendly suppliers.
• When you feel good inside, you look good outside.
The writer is CEO of an international stress management consultancy and the author of ‘Show Stress Who’s Boss!’.