Being Nice is a Very Selfish Act

It’s a fact of life, when you’re nice to people, they’re nice back–it’s called The Law of Reciprocity.  And, the more people you’re nice to, the more people you have out there who are looking for an opportunity to be nice to you.  For example, how many times have you heard someone say something like: “I really didn’t want to take the time to help that person, but since he or she is so nice, I couldn’t tell them no.”  This makes being nice a very selfish act because the more you give of yourself, the more you can expect to receive.  As Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval say in their excellent book, The Power of Nice, “The power of nice will help you open doors, improve your relationships at work and at home, and let you sleep a whole lot better.  Nice not only finishes first; those who use its nurturing power wind up happier, to boot!”  Yes, being nice is selfish…in a very good way.

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About Ross Reck

Who am I? I am the author of The Engagement Formula, Turning Your Customers into Your Sales Force, The X-Factor and my popular weekly newsletter: Ross Reck’s Weekly Reminder. I'm also the coauthor of Instant Turnaround!, REVVED! and the best selling The Win-Win Negotiator. I've also spoken at hundreds of meetings, conferences and conventions throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Asia. My consulting clients include Hewlett-Packard, John Deere, American Express, Janssen-Ortho, Inc., Shire Pharmaceuticals, Philip Morris International, the Chicago Cubs, Rolls-Royce and Xerox. I received my Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1977. From 1975 to 1985 I served a Professor of Management at Arizona State University. During my career at ASU I was the only two-time recipient of the prestigious “Teaching Excellence in Continuing Education” award and was identified by the university as an “Outstanding Teacher.” In 1985 I left my position at ASU to search full-time for a new "Management Model" to replace the current model with it's emphasis on authority, control and formal communication channels. Last February, I found it (it's actually a leadership model) and it's featured in my new book, The Engagement Formula: Three Simple Steps that Guarantee Full Employee Engagement.

4 thoughts on “Being Nice is a Very Selfish Act

  1. Scott Nelson


    Thanks for the reminder! In this current economical unheaval it seems either people are either becoming nicer or more rude. The nicer people seem to be the ones who are grateful for what the do have in this world and the more rude people seem to be the ones who are ungrateful because of what they have lost and don’t have.

  2. Ross Reck Post author

    That’s a great way to put it and very true. Some nasty bosses have gotten even nastier with their employees because jobs are scarce and they know their employee can’t jump to another job somewhere else. I’m on a mission with my new book, Instant Turnaround!, to change that. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Don


    I think for the most part you are right, however, I think as one practices being nice it is essential that they keep a look out for those who will abuse their niceness, especially in the office environment. Considering people’s motivation will help ensure your niceness is being sought for the right reasons.


  4. Ross Reck Post author

    Dear Don,

    Sorry take so long to get back to you. Thanks for the comment and let me say that you are right on the money. Have a great day!

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