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What’s Wrong With Being Accommodating and Nice at Work?

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It is not uncommon for individual contributors and leaders alike to receive feedback that they’re “too nice” or “overly accommodating” at work. In fact, dozens of Reddit and Quora forums actively discuss the topic, with more popping up every month. The discussions primarily focus on questions like what’s wrong with being accommodating and nice at work? Is it a weakness? Can a manager be too nice? How do you stop being too nice at work?

To provide some clarity on this, we have outlined the potential drawbacks of being too nice and accommodating at work, six common examples, and of course, what you can do about it.

 

If you're overworked or burnt out, "Work Smarter, Not Harder: 8 Ways to Take  Control of Your Day" is a must-read.

 

The Potential Drawbacks of Being Too Nice and Accommodating

By definition, someone who is accommodating is easy to deal with, eager to help or please, and obliging. To be clear, this is not inherently bad. In fact, being friendly and accommodating at work is key to forging productive working relationships, earning trust and respect, and advancing your career.

However, when being nice and accommodating at work leads you to put your own accountabilities and well-being at risk, then it can be considered as wrong or as a weakness. Not to mention, being too nice and accommodating at work can cause additional problems, such as the following.

 

Undermines Your Authority

Those in leadership positions need to be particularly careful about being too nice and accommodating with their employees. If you aren’t, you may find yourself feeling taken advantage of or “walked all over,” which ultimately undermines your authority and your effectiveness as a people leader.

 

Compromises Your Willingness to Engage in Healthy Conflict

If you are too nice and accommodating at work, you may not want to disagree with someone, correct them, or engage in a difficult conversation to “keep the peace.” This is a significant drawback, as healthy and respectful conflict can actually build trust in relationships, spur creativity, and improve collaboration.

 

Distracts You From Your Professional Goals

If you have committed to professional goals, being too nice and accommodating at work can lead you astray from those goals as you work to help other people achieve theirs.

 

6 Examples of Being Too Nice and Accommodating at Work

Now that we have determined the potential drawbacks, here are six common examples of being too nice and accommodating at work.

  • You continually do work for others, even when they take all the credit, do not acknowledge your contribution, or aren’t willing to “repay the favor.”
  • You “drop everything” to help a colleague, even if you’re working on a task that is urgent or important.
  • You apologize when you disagree, speak up, or stand up for yourself.
  • When someone is short with you or lashes out, you’re quick to think they “hate you.” Rather than addressing how the interaction made you feel within a few hours or days, you put an excessive amount of energy into “winning them over” and “making them like you.”
  • If no one else will do a task, you “feel guilty” and end up agreeing, even if it means you have to stay late, work through lunch, or cancel vacation time.

 

How Do You Stop Being Too Nice at Work? 4 Things You Can Do

In order to stop being overly nice and accommodating at work, it comes down to your ability to set boundaries and manage expectations. Fortunately, you can start doing things right away that will help you avoid the drawbacks previously mentioned.

 

Practice Saying No

It’s challenging to say no at work, especially if you don’t do it very often. That’s why we recommend saying no to little things or people you are more comfortable with at first. That’s because it’s very different from saying no to a colleague who's also a friend than to a senior executive. By practicing saying no in this way, you’ll get comfortable with the feeling and build the confidence you need to tackle more challenging or complex situations.

 

Be Assertive

Whether you’re telling someone no or correcting a mistake, the key is to believe what you’re saying and stick to it. If you don’t want to be “guilted” into something or convinced otherwise, then you need to communicate assertively and use definitive statements. Rest assured that this is not rude. In fact, it has been found that assertiveness at work can actually reduce anxiety, boost your self-esteem and confidence, create a greater sense of agency, and improve relationships.

 

Take Time to Collect and Prepare Yourself

If you’re in the habit of being overly accommodating and nice at work, it can be nerve-wracking to “put your foot down” and advocate for yourself. The next time you feel tempted to say yes to something you either don’t want to or shouldn’t, tell the person, “I need to check my schedule and to-do list. Can I get back to you about this tomorrow morning?” By doing this, you give yourself some much-needed time to collect yourself, settle your nerves, and prepare what you’re going to say.

 

Ask For Help

If you’re going to accommodate other people, provide help, and do favors, it’s okay to ask for the same kindness in return from time to time. If you don’t and you’re always giving but never receiving, you may begin to feel resentful and bitter towards your colleagues, which can ultimately negatively affect your relationships with them.

 

Conclusion

Being accommodating and nice at work is not inherently wrong or a weakness, though it becomes one when you jeopardize your own accountabilities and well-being. While the tips provided are a great place to start, a communication course will take it a step further and allow you to learn from a professional facilitator and practice in a safe environment among your peers.

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 8 Ways to Take Control of Your Day