5 Reasons Not to Be Mean in Business Kindness is not a weakness. In fact, kindness is one of the greatest strengths any individual can possess.

By Zach Cutler

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


We've been told nice guys finish last. In TV shows and movies, those who trample others are the ones who reach the top and succeed in business. Some look at business as the most Darwinian part of modern life -- only the strong survive.

But it's not true. Kindness is not a weakness. In fact, kindness is one of the greatest strengths any individual can possess. Kindness leads to an open heart, which leads to expansive thinking, feeling and being. Such expansiveness not only makes our days happier and more fulfilled, but it actually leads to creativity in business that would likely not be found in constrictive mental states of anger and meanness.

Related: 11 Qualities of Nice People Who Get Ahead

Here are five reasons not to be mean in business:

1. Karma exists.

What goes around does come around. Those who are mean to others should expect to be treated the same way. Employees, investors, partners and other companies won't put up with being treated in a disrespectful way and will fire back.

Words and actions can have a huge impact on others, and a small comment can have lasting effects. Seeking advice, help and favors is a lot more difficult without any friends in the industry. No one wants to play with the kid throwing sand in the sandbox. Be nice and others will return the favor.

2. Mean leadership breeds mean teams.

No one wants to work for a mean boss. Being mean to employees builds a hostile work environment where the jerks succeed and the nice guys quit.

Those who do leave will share their negative experiences with others, tarnishing the company's brand and discouraging other talent from working there. In fact, a study conducted by CareerArc measuring the responses of 1,300 job seekers and 218 HR professionals found that 38 percent of terminated or laid off employees share negative reviews of an employer online.

Treat employees with kindness and respect to build an atmosphere in which professionals actually want to work.

Related: In Business, Nice Guys Finish First. Yes, Really.

3. Mean in business is mean in life.

Negative energy can't be contained to one part of life. Unkindness at the office is carried home to family and friends. It trickles into all aspects of life. Those who are mean in business are eventually mean in everything they do -- and life is too short to be negative all the time.

Being mean only hurts, whereas being kind doesn't have any negative effects and can actually make situations better.

4. Being mean isn't right.

Everyone has a moral compass, and deep down being mean to others feels wrong. It doesn't feel good, and all that negativity wears down mean individuals -- and those around them.

Those who are mean aren't being true to what is right, so they are unbalanced. They're working against something they know to be true, creating disharmony within themselves.

5. Negativity constricts growth.

Unkindness comes from a place of negativity, and negativity is stifling. Negativity shoots down ideas, sabotages relationships and prevents growth.

Professionals are hesitant to share their ideas, discuss opinions and speak up about problems in the workplace or the industry with those who are mean. Input and collaboration are essential to a successful business, and without them, companies are constricted.

Innovation comes from open minds and positive attitudes, not bitterness and harsh words. Optimism allows people to achieve great things, but negativity stops them before they get started.

What do you think? What are the consequences to being mean in business? Tell us in the comments section below.

Related: How to Be the Nice Guy Who Never Finishes Last

Zach Cutler

Founder & CEO, Cutler PR

Zach Cutler is an entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Cutler PR, a tech PR agency in New York and Tel Aviv. An avid tech enthusiast and angel investor, Cutler specializes in crafting social and traditional PR campaigns to help tech startups thrive.

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