What does it mean to be nice to your employees?

To be nice to your employees isn’t simply to just show kindness to them, to not get angry or to forgive them for mistakes that they may have made. In fact, employee kindness is something that should run deeper in any organization, especially because companies run on relationships. When your employees can’t stand being around each other, or worse, around you, the entire organization suffers and grinds to a halt.

For us, we believe that employee kindness revolves around three main tenets. What does it take then to be nice to your employees?

To be nice is to learn from your employees as much as they learn from you. While employers should get loyal employees who will follow their lead, it’s equally important that you have a mutual learning relationship. That is, you and your employees are able to equally contribute to the success of the company, and that success isn’t just because someone pulled more weight than another.

To be nice is to recognize that your team does better when you respect and value one another. You will be in close proximity to other people — often tens or hundreds of them. The culture of employee kindness (or lack thereof) that you build at your company will spread rapidly and affect everyone in it, so the culture that you want to build is one where you know everyone will get along despite their differences.

Finally, to be nice is to be humble — both to your employees and to yourself. One of the best ways to show employee kindness is to recognize that employers are also imperfect creatures. Employers make mistakes just as much as their employees do, and sometimes the ones best positioned to correct those mistakes are the employees themselves. At the same time, don’t think that you can do everything, or that you need to do everything, on your own. If you need help, it’s there in the form of your employees.

Of course, there’s a fine line between being nice and being too nice. As an employer, always bear in mind that it’s healthy and acceptable to have limits, and your employees should be cognizant of those limits and to keep them in mind. Kindness should never become a license for being complacent, especially when it comes to engaging with your employees.

At the same time, being too nice is detrimental to the culture you want to build at your company. When there is no firm leadership figure for employees to rally around, others who may not share the same values as you are given the opportunity to challenge your authority. No employer wants that to happen to them.

Building a culture of employee kindness at your company ensures that your employees can get along with one another, but that they also get along with you. Given that the success of any company now heavily relies on how well it can manage its people, building this culture helps your company stand out from the rest. And when it’s implemented properly, everyone — including you — stands to benefit from it.