Insights

No more ‘Mr nice guy’

In 1973 Alice Cooper sang No More Mr Nice Guy. I was in my teens and then didn’t fully appreciate the real sentiment of the song. Roll forward 20 years and I’m working on a pitch to a new client. I’m working late nights burning the midnight oil, pushing myself harder than ever to produce a winning pitch. The proposal I’ve crafted is well thought through and should be a no-brainer decision for the client. We win this major new client – I am so delighted and feel proud. I secretly hope this will raise my credibility and profile with the Board. A memo (remember them?) goes around to all staff to celebrate the win and my input isn’t mentioned. My boss takes all the credit for the win and gives me no recognition for my efforts. I feel deflated and cheated.

A few days later I’m describing the situation to a good friend who says “if he takes you for a jerk once, he’ll always take you for a jerk!” If your boss thinks you are weak you are likely to be dumped on and passed over for promotion.

Should we become Mr Nasty Guy?

It’s not about being ruthless but it is about being clear and direct – it’s about being assertive. Neither aggressive, nor passive. I recently met a wonderful lady called Katie Piper. She had sulphuric acid thrown in her face by a disgruntled ex-boyfriend who had beaten her up and savagely attacked her. After multiple operations and skin grafts Katie strived to re-build her life. Katie talks about not being a Victim, instead being a Survivor. I love that perspective. It’s about recognising that ‘its not what happens to you but how you choose to respond’. Being a Victim achieves nothing. Being a Survivor is about moving forward, taking responsibility for your response. I’ve taken Katie’s maxim further, that of being a ‘Thriver’. A Thriver turns the disadvantage into an advantage. Which are you – Victim, Survivor or Thriver?

What are the benefits of being Assertive, a Survivor or a Thriver?

You will be taken more seriously and more likely to have success in your business and personal life. Smart clients want to be challenged. They want Peer to Peer relationships with their suppliers and trusted partners, not ‘yes people’. Delegates on my workshops often describe themselves as ‘people pleasers’. Yes delight clients but for the right reasons; great work and delivering results rather than ‘implementing’.

Be courageous with your conversations and don’t avoid those troublesome issues. Short term you may ruffle some feathers, so take it slowly. Long term it will benefit you. Make it your choice to say ‘yes’ not your default.

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