All companies aim to have good culture. It’s pretty much the most basic requirement of a functioning workplace. Of course, there are elements that are prerequisite for a culture to be ‘good’.
Inclusion is one; it must be open and accommodating to all peoples, regardless of any impairments, religious beliefs or backgrounds. Another is to be a place of open communication. Without clear communication, no culture can thrive. Some may also note that without a feeling of (somewhat ill defined) ‘niceness’ is also essential. But is it?
In a surprising twist, an NYU professor recently raised concerns on this very topic. She states that a seemingly positive workplace culture built on being ‘nice’ may actually be a hidden toxic trait.
But how can this be true? Surely being known for having a nice culture is exclusively a net positive? Dr. Lisa Reynolds, who is a renowned expert in organisational psychology, suggests that, yes, having a nice culture can be good. But, prioritising niceness above all else can foster a harmful environment, hindering productivity, innovation, and employee well-being.
Reynolds continues to argue that when niceness becomes the sole focus, it can lead to the suppression of diverse opinions, critical thinking, and healthy conflict resolution, all of which are crucial for sustained success.