Thanks to the popular clothing line, you’ve probably seen this shirt admonishing anyone who sees it to be a good person. (What exactly it means to be a good person takes much more than a sentence to explain or understand, but It is a nice sentiment.) I’m not sure how many bad people are converted when they see the shirt but it is at least a good reminder.
There are many ways to be a good person, but how might that apply in the world of business and work?
“He is a good person” or “She is a good person.” When I say that about someone I’m doing business with, that is high praise so I’ll explain what I mean:
First, a good person is good at what they do. They are competent and more. They know the work they do, and they do it well consistently.
Second, they are good at who they are. They have a good heart. They are civil, kind and caring. It goes beyond courteous, which can be done rotely. Their demeanor demonstrates that they have a positive disposition toward the people they work with and serve.
Simple, yes. But increasing, these two things seem to be an uncommon combination.
I encounter nice people who can’t or won’t do their jobs. If they can’t, shame on their employer for having them in the wrong role or not providing the right training. If they won’t, shame on them for thinking that being nice is enough and gives them a free pass from the need to be competent.
Then there is the competent person who gets the job done which makes you happy, but when you no longer have to interact with them you are even happier. They lack humanity. You don’t get a sense of warmth, of being nice. Their basic orientation communicates that it is only about the job, not the people they interact with.
If you’re an employer, you want to find and hire the good person. If you’ve got competent employees, you need to focus on not just the job they do but how they do it and how they make people feel. If you’ve got nice people not getting the job done, help them become competent or free them to pursue other opportunities where they can be both courteous and competent.
If you’re a leader, service rep, sales professional–whatever you do–focus on both the job your do and the humanity you bring to your interactions with others. Not only will you be more valued and appreciated, but you’ll likely find that a better way to do business that enriches your life, too.
Be a good person wherever and whenever you can, but start by being a good person at work.
Mark Sanborn is an award winning speaker, leadership strategist and Leadership Expert in Residence at High Point University, the Premier Life Skills University. He also advises executives and professional speakers on how to speak more powerfully. For more information about his work, visit www.marksanborn.com.