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Sales Training: Is Your Sales Team Too Nice

Category: Sales Training  |  Permalink

Published: Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sales Training Insight: Is Your Sales Team Too Nice?

By Paul Nolan

As published in SalesForceXP - July-August 2011

There is a condition afflicting companies that often goes undiagnosed because it's perceived as benign, but the truth is it's corrosive, says John Baldoni, an author and leadership coach ( He calls it the "disease of nice."

"Niceness in an organizational setting is the avoidance of conflict," Baldoni says, adding, "Note that I said avoidance, not absence."


While non-confrontation may seem more desirable, when it becomes part of the culture it can wreak havoc. How do you know when your company has fallen into the too-much-niceness syndrome? Baldoni offers some tip-offs:

People say "Oh wonderful" a lot. We all like to get a pat on the back, but when affirmation is constant, you know it is nothing more than "happy talk."

In meetings, people say, "Hmmm." That's a signal there is disagreement but someone is reluctant to voice his doubts or opposition.

Colleagues frequently say, "No matter." This may be the worst symptom of all - apathy. When employees cease to care, then the whole team is in trouble.

Conflict - aka "creative tension" - has a positive role to play in every company, Baldoni says. Failure to address conflicts creates a non-confrontational culture that is complacent. In today's world, complacency is a recipe for a slow decay.

As Baldoni puts it, "You don't want employees throwing stones, but you do want them to have a pebble or two they can hurl when the status quo needs breaking."

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