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Want to build a healthy culture?

Too often, we confuse kindness with niceness.

Kindness rocks, both at work and in one’s personal life. An essential part of kindness is helping people grow and become their best selves, and to help create an environment where everyone feels safe and able to contribute without fear of humiliation or retribution.

But when we confuse being nice with being kind, it can be toxic.

When team members and leaders hold back on giving essential tough feedback - because they are trying to be nice- they are robbing that person of an opportunity to grow and learn.

When we allow others to be hurtful to another person by othering them, even if it's subconsciously - because we are trying to be nice- we destroy psychological safety in our organization.

When we hold back on our ideas that may improve a process or product, we hinder our organization’s success.

Psychological safety lies at the foundation of building a healthy feedback loop in your organization; without a high level of psychological safety, people resort to either being nice or being quiet, says Dr. Timothy Clark, author of The Four Stages of Psychological Safety.

But when we confuse being nice with being kind, it can be toxic.


Why a nice company culture can be toxic

"What’s touted as niceness is often nothing more than the veneer of civility, a cute nod to psychological safety, a hologram that falsely signals inclusion, collaboration, and high performance." In his article for