Have you heard the saying “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”? Until recently, I thought this was true.
But my conversation with Catherine Gillespie has made me rethink this notion.
Oftentimes we confuse hard feedback and straight-up conversations that have to be had, with “not being nice”. So we don’t say anything, and in the process we avoid issues and necessary conflict.
According to Catherine, if we want to encourage workplace harmony, we shouldn’t focus on being nice. Instead, we should behave, communicate, interact, and work in a professional manner, and hold each other accountable.
Now, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be courteous, respectful, and interested at work. That’s not about being nice, either. That’s really just about showing up as decent human beings, and working together to achieve the best possible outcomes.
I enjoyed exploring what harmony looks like at work with Catherine. It’s quite a different (and refreshing) conversation than understanding and mitigating conflict in the workplace. Take a listen and see if you shift any of your perspectives too.
“Workplace harmony isn’t about being nice. It's about being constructive and professional.”