Why Nice People Get Paid More

When we think of powerful business people, we often think of Gordon Ghekko types, people like Jordan Belfort or Anna Wintour who made being ‘badass’ in business an art form. But why is this? Why don’t Richard Branson or Mark Bouris come to mind?

It is because they are nice? Some might even say they’re too nice. Yet Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has become a billionaire on the idea that “engaging people in a positive way means that they will be encouraged to work for you and do better”. This certainly doesn’t sound like the type of man who would tell the world that “greed is good”.

Although pop-culture would never admit it, being nice in business is key to being successful. Here’s why being nice will help you make more money:

1: Emotional intelligence leads to bigger paychecks

In any field of business, whether you work as a public relations professional or an electrician, it’s all about cultivating relationships. Having strong business relationships not only allows you to garner repeat business, but also creates referrals and networking opportunities. It’s important to remember that in business, it isn’t always about what’s in it for me, but how you can help others. This ideology can assist in creating lifelong connections and increasing your reputation as a good person to do business with.

When dealing with clients it is impossible to maintain strong relationships if you are unable to discern how they are feeling. Similar notions are also seen when dealing with staff. The ability to negotiate staffing issues in a professional and respectful manner is integral to remaining nice in business.

Subsequently, having highly developed emotional intelligence allows you to have increased skills in navigating the waters of office politics and ultimately be well-liked by fellow staff. This is where being nice is key, as having fellow staff and managers want to work with you is integral to being promoted, which usually leads to a pay rise too.


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2: Being compassionate makes people want to work with you

A core part of my values as an employer is to be compassionate towards my staff. Employees are human beings and have wants and needs both at work and outside of it. Having the capacity to be dynamic and understand their needs is an important part of being a manager.

At Agent99 I aim to create an environment where my employees want to come to work every day. Encouragement and positive reinforcement creates a culture in the workplace whereby employees want to help you achieve your goals. This motivation has ultimately helped me to grow the business over the past eight years.

3: Being nice doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover

There is a perception in the business world that being nice makes you a pushover. This is far from true. Being a good leader is all about setting expectations and goals, maintaining your cool and remain a “nice” person. The key to this is your mindset and delivery in discussions.

At end of the day all leaders have to be stern, but this doesn’t require you to be mean. Encouragement and motivation will result in people working harder for you as they believe in the company ethos you set. Creating a positive work culture is imperative to growing your business, because without the right staff no business can succeed.


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4: Don’t forget to say thank you

This works when doing business at any level. Whether you are interacting with colleagues, superiors or clients, don’t forget to say thank you. Everyone likes to be appreciated and recognised for the work that they have done.

Overall, these are the keys to being a nice person in business that will in turn help you to achieve your goals. With fifteen years of experience in the Public Relations industry, eight of which as a business owner, I have used these tools to cultivate business relationships and get me to where I am today.

Sharon is the founder and Director of PR agency Agent99. Follow Sharon on LinkedIn

Image: Hardo Müller, Flickr