For those of you who go out of your way to be accommodating to everyone in the office… Let’s get one thing straight. Appropriately asserting yourself will not earn you the title of “rude” or “aggressive” in the workplace; however, being “too nice” can earn you the reputation of office pushover. Unfortunately, being “too nice” can be a detriment to your career if you are not able to have autonomy in your position. Don’t let the phrase “nice guys finish last” plague you because you aren’t sure of how to balance being assertive and being a team player.


Signs That You Are Being “Too Nice”

As a team member, cooperation and investment in your team’s success are desirable traits; however, these positive traits can easily be taken advantage of by coworkers. Take a look at some signs that you have gone beyond a good team member’s responsibilities, and are now in “too nice” territory.

  • You never take credit for your work
  • You do not stand behind your decisions
  • You keep your opinions to yourself
  • Your workload is growing while your coworkers’ are shrinking
  • You agree to take on projects that you don’t have time for
  • You avoid confrontation at all costs

5 Ways to Stop Being “Too Nice”

There is a difference between being a good team member and consistently giving in to other people’s ideas and demands. Become a strong professional by taking the following into consideration.

  • Take credit for your work. While running around the office and bragging about all of your accomplishments is sure to have an adverse effect on your reputation, it is important to take credit for your work. An easy way to do this is to keep your manager informed of what you are working on and your roles in group projects. By doing this, you are making them aware of what you deserve credit for, without talking about it in a group setting that may make you feel uncomfortable.


  • Be firm, direct and decisive. Collaboration and flexibility are desirable attributes, but it is also important to stand behind your decisions and be firm and decisive in the workplace. If you are worried about your delivery, remember to keep it clear and concise. Don’t cloud your message by being too wordy, which will only confuse your audience and muddle your message.


  • Always be prepared. If you are tired of being “too nice”, and always feel like your ideas are being shot down, look no further than the Boy Scout Motto: be prepared. By entering meetings and conversations with data and information, others will have difficulty changing your mind and railroading your ideas or decisions.


  • Have confidence in your opinions. You were hired for a reason. The person who hired you chose you specifically with the belief that you would add value to the team. The best way to do that is to communicate your ideas and opinions. Have confidence in your abilities and share your thoughts, knowing that as long as they are communicated respectfully, they will be a positive addition to the conversation.


  • Say “no” to projects that you don’t have time for. While a nice person will be tempted to give an in-depth excuse as to why they are unable to take on additional responsibilities (or simply say “yes” to avoid saying “no”), it is perfectly acceptable to say, “I am not able to take on any more projects at this time”. Again, be firm and direct in these conversations to avoid becoming overwhelmed with your workload.


  • Address issues without being confrontational. The word “confrontation” has a negative connotation because it is typically associated with undesirable emotions. As you strive to assert yourself, it is necessary to learn how to address issues without letting your emotions get the best of you. Avoid being assigned the label of “that rude, confrontational coworker” by blowing off steam outside of the office and approaching each situation with a level head.


Don’t let your nice demeanor and desire to help your team succeed be your downfall. Team members who are too nice often feel burnt out, underappreciated and used by their coworkers. Instead of trying to accommodate everyone else’s needs, work on becoming assertive in a professional manner.