The Book, “Nice Guys Can Get the Corner Office” is a conflicting view of why being a nice guy in business and life has more benefits than what the conservative believes. Being a nice person is a fashioned thing in the modern world contrary to what the conservative has believed for a long time that “nice guys never get ahead” (Edelman and Hiltabiddle 5). For Hiltabiddle and Edelman the word nice encompasses many positive and desirable attributes.
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In the Book, Paul Kennedy is depicted as being the nice guy. As he is trapped in a traffic jam, his mind is wandering all over. He thinks of his wife who is suffering from a cold and yet they are approaching their marriage anniversary. He also thinks about the plunging and fielding assignments he has to accomplish by the end of the day which relates to the Little League game. As he drives to work, Paul is assured that he is the right candidate to be promoted as he has the experience. He is excited and thinks about how he is to improve the performance of the institution. He believes that his boss, Larry, is also convinced that he is a great man and hence, he will automatically promote him to the top slot vacant position in the company (Edelman and Hiltabiddle, p. 10).
He is a caring, understanding, kind and sympathetic person as he cares and thinks about the health of his boss, Larry who was recently diagnosed with a heart attack. He also thinks about his co-workers and especially Lisa whose mother is sick and whose job is not stable. We see him calling Lisa and inquiring about her mother’s progress and even when he finds out that Lisa has not finalized her work, he opts to finish it himself and have Lisa take her mother to a doctor’s appointment. He is a nice person and therefore taken to be too soft and weak. No wonder he is not considered for the top slot job in the company despite having the experience as he has worked for ten years in the company. Instead, George who is an absolute jerk gets the position. The boss Larry says that Paul needs to get tougher.
Being a nice guy does not necessarily mean that one has to be weak, soft or simply lining more on your morals, sympathy and genuineness to get things done rather it means that one has to be decisive, strong to get things done more competently and effectively than authoritarian managers. Paul considers himself as a nice person and hence a successful leader whereas others including his boss see him as a failed leader. This is because he is a nice person whereas in the conservative world nice leaders are deemed to be failures in business (Edelman and Hiltabiddle, p. 12).
Despite the fact that Paul is frustrated because of not being promoted, as an authentic leader, he is expected to bounce back and move on with life. After all, his luck might be on the way. Top leaders should also be in a position to welcome productive confrontation and learn from such situations. What Paul needs to do is to face up to the problem directly and say no to what is less than he deserves.
Being too nice has its own negative connotations. For example, some citizens try to benefit from nice people as they tend to hide to speak up about what is in their hearts. Hiltabiddle and Edelman came up with six strategies that enable one to prosper in business while still being considered a nice person. These include talking up, setting limits, taking risks, valuing your time, and being responsible.
Edelman Russ and Hiltabiddle Tim. The Nice Guy Can Get the Corner Office: Eight Strategies for Winning in Business without Being a Jerk. New York: Penguin Group, 2006.
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