Why You Should Avoid Being Too Nice in The Workplace

  | 5 min read

Being nice at work always pays off. Your coworkers will like you and you will be happy. However, it can be harmful if it exceeds the limit. You might end up holding yourself back. Your coworkers can take advantage of your kindness by lifting themselves up while you endanger your career. What if you want to cover up for a coworker so as to spare his/her feelings but end up in trouble? Is it okay if everyone in the office sends their tasks to you because you are cool, nice without saying no? It’s important to know the difference between being helpful and being taken advantage of.

Why you should avoid Being Too Nice:

1. You Lose Your Boundaries

being-nice-workplace you loose your boundaries

Being ‘too nice’ can be perceived as a sign of weakness and some people will try to take advantage of you. Your workmates may use that as an opportunity to throw you whatever task they don’t feel like doing and won’t feel bad about it. They know exactly you are there whenever they feel like and it is guaranteed that you will take up a task when requested. They will always expect the ‘it’s okay, I will do it for you..’ from you for all the tasks they request you to help with, even if you are not done with your own. Helping out is okay, but set clear boundaries on when you can help out, especially on emergency cases.

2. You Create Higher Expectations to Coworkers

Once everyone at the office believes that you will accept every task given to you, they might get it wrong when you decide to stand up for yourself. If you will say no to a certain task or try to challenge something reasonable, you might be perceived as selfish. Saying ‘no’ will be seen as an unusual behaviour. 

3. You Won’t Criticise Important Matters

being nice workplace you wont criticize

When you want to be “too” friendly to everyone at the office, then you will throw nothing but praise to them. You will limit yourself from giving out constructive criticism for fear of breaking your ‘good friends’ hearts. Chances are that you will let yourself and the company down as your inputs and contributions will not be heard due to your fear of criticising your workmates.

4. You Will Only Give, Never Gain

When you consistently give help to your coworkers and ask very little or never ask back because you are too nice, they might get used to that behaviour. They will see use that chance to delegate tasks that they are in a position to do.  This is because like an ATM machine, you only give and l don’t ask a favour in return. This will later be a huge burden on your workload and might affect your performance and career.

5. You Might End Up Disappointed

When you are too nice to people, you expect similar treatment in return. But what if you are giving too much energy and time to the people and they don’t give the same to you?  If you will expect to receive the same level of treatment you might get a little or none at all and end up annoyed.

How To Stop Being Too Nice

1. Don’t Be Afraid To Say No

being nice workplace don't afraid to say no

Turning down some of your colleague’s requests doesn’t mean you are rude or being negative towards them. It shows that you respect the time and task that you are working on. If you have your own tasks or you are running late with your schedule, tell them you are not able to handle their request. In fact, that will help your colleague as they will learn to manage their time and tasks and won’t rely on you. You will also have ample time for your own tasks.

2. Be Honest and Straightforward

If you have a chance of criticising your coworker’s task, do not be afraid to point out a mistake. Make reasonable and honest suggestions about their work to help improve it. If you are afraid to hurt their feelings and let an error slide, this will likely cause a negative impact to not only your colleague but to the company as a whole. Being straightforward and more helpful than a nice personality.

3. Know your Priorities and Put them First

being nice workplace know your priorities

Map out your day and priorities tasks so as to know what decision to make when a colleague asks for your help. Knowing your priorities will help you decide whether you are in a position to help out or not. And if not, it is in no way rude to prioritize your tasks over others. Do not feel guilty over that. When you spend too much time focusing on how you can help others, your own career can fall behind.

4. Let Go Of Those Who Takes Advantage Of You

Unfortunately, there might be some coworkers who might want to take advantage of you. If you are too nice and always say yes and ready to help them, they might use this for their own advantage. For this kind of coworkers is quite OK to keep your relationship purely professional and avoid friendships at work so that you don’t feel obligated to help out.  So it is better to start to figure out who is taking advantage of you and stay away from them.

You can be a good colleague without allowing people to take advantage of you. The key thing is to assess when someone genuinely needs help vs when someone is being lazy. Above all remember delivering on your own tasks is what pays your bills. So as long as you deliver on your tasks 100% per cent, the rest is not as important, unless requested by your supervisor. Have you experienced the consequence of being too nice to your colleagues? Share with us your thoughts on the comment section below.

Mustapha Mosha
Mustapha Ally is a Community Marketing Manager at Zoom Tanzania and BrighterMonday Tanzania. He loves digital marketing social media