Well, there is a difference between being nice (being pleasant), being kind (being generous), and being effective (doing what needs to be done). This is different than being abusive and evil and greedy.
Different situations call for different behaviors and tactics. To be a successful business person, you usually have to use niceness, kindness, and effectiveness at the appropriate time. But being abusive, evil, and greedy can backfire and often does, especially in the long run.
One reality is that people do business with people they like. And being nice and pleasant to be around will result in more sales. Being perceived as being greedy and evil will result in lost sales. So being nice attracts wealth.
But if you are being attacked, or someone is causing problems, or you need to handle an emergency, sometimes you have to be blunt and say what needs to be said, even if it does not sound nice.
There is a time and place to be nice, and a time and place to be blunt or direct. Although some people understand the art of saying what they need to say in a pleasant way; not everyone has mastered that art.
A businessperson’s primary job in running a business is being effective and getting things done. He or she has to concentrate on what is best for the business. Since a business depends on its employees to fulfill orders and depends on its customers for revenue and often depends on investors for capital, a savvy business person will try to balance the needs of investors, employees, and customers.
These interests are often aligned, but sometimes they are not. And when they are not, the business person has to do what is in the best interest of the business overall.
For example, if a company’s costs increase and/or they have a shortfall of revenue, they might have to decrease benefits and salaries for employees or lay some people off, or they might have to reduce portion sizes or increase prices, which affects customers. But the alternative is that the business fails because it runs out of money, which means investors lose their investment, everybody loses their job, and customers can’t buy the product anymore.
So, sometimes you have to make hard decisions that are not necessarily good for everyone involved on an individual level, but need to be made.
And, lastly, being kind to people attracts loyalty. Very successful people have a set of loyal friend, associates, employees, and customers that help them rise to the top.
If you screwed everyone you did business with, you would not get far, because no one is going to help you, except maybe other greedy people who think they can use you to get what they want. But even then, this will eventually wind up collapsing as you make more and more enemies.
Some people are kind and generous to everyone, while others are kind and generous to a select group of people. Being kind to certain people will benefit you, and being kind to everyone will boost you into the “being nice” category as well.
Greed has many levels. On one level, everyone wants a better life. That is a good thing. It moves society forward, and it also makes people’s lives better.
The question is, are you willing to screw over other people to get what you want, or do you take a more cooperative and mutually beneficial approach?
Most people think about “screwing people over” when thinking of the word greed, so let’s talk about that.
Screwing over people is not a good long term strategy. It turns people against you and makes enemies, some of which would plot how to make you fail.
The only reason why some people get away with it is because of monopoly power or dominance in a market or friends in high places, such as the government.
If someone is a jerk and screws people over, but is one of the only options in town, people will do business with them because they have to, not because they want to.
This is why competition is so important. If there is competition, business people naturally have to be nice, kind, and effective to be successful. But if there is no or little competition, they don’t have to be any of that.
But, even with having market dominance, being greedy and evil backfires in the long run. Eventually you have so many enemies and dissatisfied customers and employees that people will gladly embrace anyone but you if it were an option. Unless you got the government to give you special treatment (like give you a monopoly or make it harder for new companies to enter the market) or have some other unfair advantage, being greedy and evil will be your downfall.
In a competitive market, where customers and employees have a choice in who they work for and do business with, you have to be nice, kind, and effective to be successful in business. And loyal people will stick with you even when times are bad. People tend to go where they are treated better, and if you treat them better, they are more likely to go with you.
You can only afford to be greedy and evil in markets where there is monopoly power or market dominance, and people have few other viable choices. People will do business with you, but only because you are the only game in town.
This is why competition is so important. It forces business people to be nice (pleasant), kind (generous), and effective (take the best actions for all stakeholders), even if they don’t want to be. Because, if people have a choice, they do business with people they like. And people like to be treated well.