The Truth About Toxicity: Why Nice Doesn’t Always Cut It

Nov 20, 2023

In today’s fast-paced corporate world, authenticity often takes a backseat to superficial niceness. However, embracing genuine kindness, honest communication, and rewarding performance can spell the difference between a toxic environment and a thriving one. This article explores how to instil these values into your organisation to create a healthier work culture.

Kindness Over Niceness

Niceness is the ephemeral sugar rush that feels good momentarily but leaves no lasting impression. Kindness, on the other hand, is about the long-term well-being of others. While being nice often means avoiding discomfort, true kindness navigates through it. It might mean a difficult conversation about performance or a seemingly tough decision made in someone’s best interest.

Actionable Tips:

  • Don’t avoid difficult conversations; see them as opportunities for growth.
  • Take the time to understand the long-term impact of your actions.

The Art of Negative Feedback

Avoiding negative feedback is like steering clear of a doctor because you’re afraid of a diagnosis. While it may seem like a solution, it prevents growth. Negative feedback, when delivered effectively, is a tool for progress. It’s the signpost that indicates wrong turns, guiding team members back to the correct path.

Actionable Tips:

  • Use the “hamburger approach” for balanced feedback.
  • Customize your approach based on individual needs.

Combatting Toxicity

Creating an authentic work culture requires ongoing effort and focus. It starts with effective team-building, transparent communication, and a commitment to valuing performance over mere congeniality. By doing so, you plant the seeds of trust and respect, which eventually grow into a solid, resilient organisational culture.

Actionable Tips:

  • Prioritise team-building activities that promote genuine relationships.
  • Reward hard work and results, not just a friendly disposition.


In the brutal landscape of corporate culture, superficial niceness can become a breeding ground for mediocrity and resentment. What’s essential is fostering an environment of authentic kindness, clear communication, and rewarding performance. By doing so, we can create workspaces where people can be their best selves, contributing to a healthier, more productive culture for all.

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