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Consultant discusses benefits of executive level niceness

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 13, 2014

Nice Companies Finish First

Nice Companies Finish First

Photo: Shankman.com

The era of self centered authoritarian leaders is dead. Long live the new era of nice leaders who care about more than the bottom line. So say Peter Shankman and Karen Kelly in Nice Companies Finish First Why Cutthroat Management Is Over and Collaboration Is In (Palgrave Macmilan, $26).

In the 245-page hardcover book Shankman argues that people work together in an “atmosphere that is conducive to civility and good cheer” at many successful companies. The positive attitude comes from the top and trickles down through the ranks, according to the author. A similar situation is present when the atmosphere is negative, he says. He points to research that indicates productivity is low where the work environment is unpleasant.

As examples of nice executives he mentions Richard Brandson at Virgin, Shantaul Narayen at Adobe, Dave Needleman of Jet Blue, Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Steve Jobs of Apple, and Kenneth Chenault at American Express. After speaking with dozens of leaders he considers nice he identified nine characteristics he shares in the book and hopes future leaders will embrace.

They are: enlightened self interest, making themselves accessible, the ability to listen well, being responsible and ethical managers, having loyalty to the whole company, maintaining an optimistic attitude, being customer oriented, competing based on merit, and caring.

Shankman is a principal at Shankman|Honig, a customer support and marketing consultancy. His two other books are Can We Do That?! Outrageous PR Stunts That Work--And Why Your Company Needs Them and Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World.


Nice Companies Finish First

Click to buy Nice Companies Finish First


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