Food for thought


A few weeks ago, I was chatting to Tina Tower, founder of the Begin Bright franchise and a generally amazing Gen Y business woman.

As we chatted about her business and aspirations, one of the key things that struck me about Tina (asides from her successful business, of course!), was that she was just so nice. She was generous with her time, knowledge, and generally a lovely person to talk to.

When we wrapped up the conversation, I asked Tina for the best advice she has been given, which she shared with me:

“Work hard and be nice to people”

A few weeks on, this advice has really stuck with me. Call me lame, but I have always believed in karma, and I have certainly been extremely fortunate, particularly over the last few months, to have a lot of people “paying forward” their knowledge and insight to me.

But what about the opposite?

We have all come across people who are successful and well established in their career who believe that because they “did it tough”, you should too.

It makes me pretty angry that I can think of a number of examples of this behaviour. For example, a very smart and talented friend of mine had an awful time working for her female boss. She was patronising and dismissive of her in meetings, and would frequently put her down in front of her team members. She didn’t feel supported or valued, so it’s no surprise that she took her talents elsewhere. Unfortunately, this story isn’t uncommon. In my opinion, it’s particularly sad when the bullying or general nastiness comes from a senior female who faced similar challenges before she “made it”, particularly in traditionally male dominated industries.

It’s time to change the game.

I can’t write a list of “10 Handy Tips to Help You Be Nice”, and that isn’t the point of this post.

It’s time we all embrace Tina’s attitude. Because clearly you can be nice, and still extremely successful. And don’t worry if you are just starting out - being nice, treating your colleagues and peers with respect, is important at any stage of our career.

Don’t be the person that takes the challenges or adversity that they have faced out on others. Think about ways you can support and work with the people around you.

After all, when it comes down to it, wouldn’t you rather be Tina - the person who everyone wants to work with, than someone who bitter, competitive and walks over others to get what they want and need. If you have been treated poorly by someone at work, that’s even more incentive to stop the “you deserve to do it tough too” mentality.

I challenge you this week: think about ways you can help out your friends and colleagues.

PS. After I wrote this post, I read a page in Lisa Messenger's new book, Life and Love that felt appropriate to share:

"There is a myth that you need to be a ballbreaker to get ahead in business, that you need to bully your way to the top and, when you get there, it's then acceptable to treat everyone below you as if they are inadequate. I do not idolise The Wolf of Wall Street approach. I firmly believe you can be kind and successful, compassionate and profitable, ambitious and amicable"

Amen, Lisa.

What do you think? Comment below or get in touch on social, I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.