The Difference between Being Kind and Being Nice to Employees

A key driver of employee motivation is a manager's relationship with employees. In terms of being both likable and respected, being a manager is difficult. There's a fine line that must be drawn so that employees know who their boss is, yet also feel at ease while working in the office. One issue that managers often struggle with is being too nice with or too harsh on employees. Being too nice with employees easy ways to lose credibility and authority, but managers that are too harsh on employee lose the ability to be a motivational force. A recent Harvard Business Review article discusses this dilemma and offers a practical solution. According to the article there is a difference between being nice and being kind with employees and the latter is superior. The article also explains how being too nice can have a negative effect:

 "Vince Lombardi wasn’t a nice guy. But he drove his players to be the best they could be, and in hindsight, they loved him for it. I’d much rather play for a coach committed to my true potential and willing to sacrifice my perception of him or her in the short term than a coach who’s more concerned about being liked. I’d rather work for someone who loves me than someone who’s nice to me."

Being too nice and not demanding greatness doesn't motivate employees to improve. A manager that is always nice and agreeable signals that he is satisfied with employee performance. While this can be used later for employee recognition, it doesn't bode well for employee motivation. Instead, managers should be kind yet firm with employees. The Harvard Business Review mentions Vince Lombardi, who was known for his motivational style of coaching. Lombardi wasn't the nicest coach at the time, but his players later understood that he was driving them to greatness. If you would like more information about employee motivation, contact us.

Let’s Get Started

Let’s Get Started

Planning a Group Trip?
We can help.

start planning

Case Studies

Boosting Retention Rates
Providing Sales Incentives
Building Employee Teamwork
Improving Employee Recognition


  • Evan Polin
    Sandler Training

    "I've been working with Bruce and his team on two projects and they've been great to work with. Bruce has helped us set up a referral/incentive program for us to roll out with our clients and strategic partners. Bruce was great to work with. He's set up a 7 tier program that allows for flexibility and he's also helped us to market the program."

  • Kevin O'Keefe
    Vice President World Wide Sales, Maginatics, Inc.

    "Beverly arranged and managed the early Envivio Sales incentive trips for us. Each of our events was an outstanding and motivating experience Our Sales team appreciated the attention to detail and to fun. Qualifying for the "trip" was a motivating factor behind many end of year sales pushes. I will use Beverly again in the future."

  • Mickey Poorman
    Laird Technologies

    "Peak Performance’s attention to detail and personal service made me feel like I had a true corporate meeting planning partner that I could rely on throughout the planning process right up until I was on site. I look forward to doing more meetings with them."

  • Marco Lopez
    C& J Energy Services, Inc

    "I have used your services two years in a row and you all have made my vacation a great one. You have the most helpful and considerate employees. Always very friendly, respectful and willing to make my travel experience a good one. Thank you and keep up the great job."

Latest Blog Post

Bucket List Destinations for your next President's Club

Are you looking for some inspiration for your next President's Club or sales incentive destination? Look no further than this...

Contact Us