Can Being Nice Help You Succeed in Business? 5 Qualities of Nice People who are Successful

It’s nice to be nice, isn’t it? But what about when it comes to business? In a world where it is assumed only the most selfish will survive, is it possible to be nice and successful?

In this guest article, Natalie Hailey, Founder of Hot Content UK, shares her own experiences. Having seen both the good and the bad, she shares the 5 qualities of nice people that can help you succeed in business.


I’m really feeling the love at the moment…

In fact I’d like to grab hold of a select bunch of people I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside or shared work experiences with over the last few months, and give them a good squeeze.

A very different kind of squeeze to the one I would have liked to perform on work colleagues a few years ago.

Dog eat dog

Growing up both my parents were self-employed. Nothing fancy, they had a café and my dad also had a joinery business. Even when I was young I had a sense that I couldn’t imagine them working for anyone else. Somehow it felt safe that they didn’t have to answer to anyone.

Despite this, money was never in abundance. Far from it, and I grew up feeling that people who were successful in business were successful as a result of being ruthless and cutthroat.

This world didn’t appeal to me at all and from a young age I craved life in a little cottage with some chickens, a husband and a few children. I absolutely didn’t want to go out to work. That sounded far too scary. I just wanted to bake scones.

Unfortunately, my first real experience of the workplace did nothing to assuage this early-life interpretation of ‘business’. Fresh from finishing my A-Levels I got a job as an office junior and spent two years working in an estate agency where, looking back now, I was bullied. At the time I had nothing to compare it to and thought that this must be normal.

Completely off my own bat, I enrolled in a diploma to further my learning and improve my knowledge of the industry in which I worked, and when I approached my boss to ask for a contribution towards the cost of this (£100 or so) I was told that he needed to see more enthusiasm from me. I’ll leave it to your imagination what my older, more confident self would now like to do to this small-minded man.

Ten years later setting up my own business has been full of surprises.

But nothing has surprised me more than the inspirational, and just plain friendly, people I’ve had the privilege of coming into contact with and getting to know. I’m pleased to say that I realise my early views of successful people and the necessary traits I deemed crucial to have in order to succeed in business have changed entirely.

Turns out there are ambitious, successful entrepreneurs and business-people who do this stuff really, really well.

5 qualities of nice people who are successful

1. Collaborate not compete

It may be human nature to compete but too often it goes hand in hand with egoism and jealousy.

I’m not a competitive person – yes, I understand that in order to succeed in business it’s important to keep an eye on the competition but, at the same time, not one of us is in a comparable situation and, it rarely means that just because someone else is successful you can’t be.

2. Elevate others

There is truly no better feeling than when one of your peers compliments you or spreads a kind word about you or your business. Why in God’s name would you then not want to do the same for them? I’m not talking about disingenuously throwing compliments around to get them back, but when they come from a place of true admiration and feeling it naturally creates a warm, fuzzy vibe which everyone wants to get in amongst.

3. Say, “I don’t know”

How embarrassing for everyone when you see someone blundering their way through a talk or meeting determined not to be seen that they don’t actually know the answer to a question.

I have far more respect for and faith in those who come straight and say they don’t know… after all, we can’t all know everything.

4. Have banter

We’re always talking about being more human and what better way to be human than to share our sense of humour and relax around those we work alongside. Obviously there are boundaries but, for me, I can communicate far better with people who aren’t unnecessarily formal and stiff. See, I know when it’s not appropriate to crack a joke.

5. Share

By share I mean share the ups and the downs. How wonderful to be able to share our success with others and to get them in on the action if possible (the best feeling ever) but also, how necessary to feel we can share the lows too.

In Summary

Entrepreneurship and business in general can be a lonely place.  If it hadn’t turned out there were so many good eggs involved, I for one wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today… I’d be baking scones.

What can it do for you?

Your Turn

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic too.

  • Have you ever experienced the ‘dog-eat-dog’ side of business?  Do you believe that you can be nice and also be successful?
  • What other qualities do you think ‘nice’ and successful people have?

Please share your experiences below and feel free to ask if you have any questions.

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About Natalie Hailey

Can being nice help you succeed in business Natalie Hailey Guest BlogNatalie works with businesses to help them build brand awareness and connect with their audience through content marketing.

She offers a done-for-you content service, in-house training and public workshops.

Connect with Natalie:

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About Vicky Gunn

Beach addict and crazy spaniel mum (thanks to Millie), I love helping others create memories. Founder of Millie's Lifestyle and avid blogger - life would be boring doing just one thing. Wouldn't it?!?!?