The Subtle But Dangerous Impact of Being Too Nice

May 19, 2023

by Erika Bill Peter


We had our first coaching session. I had the pleasure of meeting this sophisticated and established woman and hearing her story of hard work making her career as a lawyer. It is a tough environment, with long working hours that are just expected and high pressure to always perform at your best. She did what people asked her to do. She is a people-pleaser; it is so ingrained that she cannot say no to new tasks, even when she knows she cannot take more. 


At one point, it was enough. She decided to leave and find another place more conducive to her personality. Luckily, she found it. She blossomed at this place where relationships and collaboration are more valued. She was able to gain the trust of key stakeholders quickly. So all good, right? Problem resolved. 


Not completely. While she made the right move to seek an environment that better fits her values and preferences, her need to be liked was still causing problems. Internally, she still lacked self-worth and self-confidence despite being highly successful. She still had doubts and acted as a servant versus stepping up as a leader. She apologized for things that were not her fault and could not set clear boundaries. 


She was undoubtedly leading from her heart, which had many benefits. With her selfless approach, she made sure people were taken care of. She could be counted on and trusted. People felt included and heard. Things are just perfect for people surrounded by heart-based character strengths individuals. 


But what about her? It took a toll on her. She still worked long hours and sacrificed her private life. She still felt inadequate despite the reality of her career success. She still was in a mental prison. When she was off work, she could manage to be different. There she could let herself completely go, was scattered, had no common sense, and was fun and relaxed.


Two separate worlds. Two different people. What will it take for her to learn to integrate both into one? What will it look like for her to balance her heart-based character strengths of empathy and likability with boldness and confidence? The Tilt365 character-based assessment opened her eyes to her development path. By learning to shift her behaviors into strengths like courage, confidence, and boldness, she is beginning to balance and practice new behavior patterns. By integrating both aspects of herself, her outcomes are beginning to improve in both her work and private life.