Are staff not held consistently accountable in your firm? Do you come up with justifiable reasons when expectations are not met? Are reprimands or terminations delayed or do not happen at all? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you most likely have a condition called Nice Person Syndrome. Don’t worry, it’s not terminal.

To succeed as a salesperson or recruiter, you have to be a nice enough person (or able to fake nice) to build relationships. These same nice people end up as managers and, as managers, it does not feel nice to hold other people accountable. That’s why virtually every manager has some degree of NPS. The nicer you are as a person, the worse your NPS tends to be.

The important thing to recognize is that feeling discomfort at holding other people accountable is normal, with reprimands, layoffs, and firings feeling even worse. Life is full of things we don’t like, yet we do them anyways. Even though it may not feel good, holding others to a standard that will help them succeed is the right and compassionate thing to do.

Views: 294

Comment by Tim Spagnola on September 12, 2011 at 7:48pm
Oh good ole NPS- still looking for a cure myself. Thanks Scott for offering a reminder as to why holding one accountable (even w/. NPS) is still the right thing to do.
Comment by Katrina Machado on September 13, 2011 at 10:37am

Nice reminder Scott.  There are some who I would like to end my NPS with!!!


Comment by Tim Spagnola on September 13, 2011 at 10:39am
LOL @ Katrina - I know exactly how you feel.....
Comment by Katrina Machado on September 13, 2011 at 10:59am
Smile and nod, right Tim? :)
Comment by Tim Spagnola on September 13, 2011 at 11:07am
at times biting you lip helps too ; )
Comment by Tony Palm on September 13, 2011 at 11:13am

Being nice and holding folks accountable for production goals are not necessarily mutually exclusive; taken together, they are in fact, the epitome of genuine leadership.


As a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer who spent 12 years on sea-duty, I know the meaning of being tough. However, it was my 5 years on recruiting duty that taught me the value of balancing the ‘Good Cop/Bad Cop’ aspects of achieving production goals with the subordinate recruiters under my authority.


Leadership is all about providing every possible resource for organizational success; that of course would include providing additional ‘training’ as required. It also requires a liberal and consistent dose of ‘nice guy’ back patting AT EVERY POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY.


I’ve experienced far too many managers who view every subordinate as a nail and therefore felt the only tool necessary was a hammer. Yeah well, didn’t buy it as a young Navy recruiter, and don’t buy it now. The churn in recruiting offices has far more to do with a lack of leadership rather than a surplus supply of niceness!


I’m just sayin ~

Comment by Tim Spagnola on September 13, 2011 at 1:17pm
Thanks for 'just sayin' Tony..... I appreciate the perspective you bring to the NPS/Leadership conversation. Your take on too many recruiting managers simply like a hammer to the nail is sadly too accurate (escp. in my sector).
Comment by Scott Wintrip on September 13, 2011 at 4:01pm

Thanks all...I love the conversation going on here. Tony, you make a great point. Holding people accountable is one of the most kind and compassionate things we can do.


When we avoid this, we are actually practicing a form neglect - employee neglect. Just like child neglect is illegal...employee neglect should be illegal for leaders too!

Comment by Tony Palm on September 13, 2011 at 4:12pm

Spot-on Scott! My father (no piker in the disciplinary department) was fond of saying a child needs only 2 things (beyond food, water, etc.) to grow into a happy productive adult, "love and discipline".


Not sure about the love part with employees, but we all need to know where the boundaries of acceptable behavior are for optimal success. Without providing discipline, leaders are practicing the worst form of neglect toward not just their subordinates, but their customers as well!


Great topic, thanks for letting me participate ~


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