Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Nice" doesn't mean "soft"

My kid asked me the other day why folks sometimes try to push me around. (sigh... it happens to the best of us...) It was a great discussion that lasted all the way to the fish & chip place and back.

The words "nice", "kind" and "thoughtful" get applied to me. Don't get me wrong; I'm proud to be described as such! I think being liked - or at least tolerated :-) - is a great way to have better relationships. But having those qualities doesn't mean that I will want you to like me any any cost - including when things need to be done.

I believe we should treat folks equally; say "please" and "thanks"; encourage people to feel valued through their input and actions; and offer a gentle approach whenever possible. We should be sincere in being kind and considerate in discussion.

But if you then turn around and tell me to get stuffed (nicely or otherwise), or become an impediment to a project, I can firmly (and yet still nicely) push back. If you get rude or pose a risk to the community's decision, then I reserve the right to bypass you.

I think the cliche that if one is kind to folks, one is a pushover is finally becoming dated. You can lead with humour and grace and still get things done. A kinder, gentler world can still be an efficient world!

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