I am often asked, ‘Do nice guys finish last? Or, in other words, do jerks get ahead? Why does it matter how I show up?

Well, it turns out that in the long run, they don’t. According to research by Morgan McCall and Michael Lombardo when they were at the Center for Creative Leadership. They found that the number one reason tied to executive failure was an insensitive, abrasive or bullying style.

There will always be some outliers that succeed despite their incivility, and there seem to be a lot of them still in management roles; you just have to ask anyone how many great leaders you have worked for, and in my experience, it seems to be less than three in a career spanning 15+ years in business. Sooner or later, most uncivil people sabotage their success.


‘Civility and respect can boost an organisation’s performance – up to 13% higher.’


What do people want most from their leaders? From data from over 20,000 employees worldwide, the answer was simply 1. Respect – feeling valued and listened to 2.) Useful feedback – opportunities for learning and growth. Those that felt respected were healthier, more focused, had greater retention and were more engaged.

Working inclusively and welcoming shows true respect for others in the workplace. Everyone should feel valued for their hard work and contributions. Ultimately incorporating and building on others’ viewpoints by listening and asking insightful questions.

How can you lift people and make people feel respected?

In my experience, small things can make a big difference starting with listening to their ideas, showing genuine gratitude and WHY it matters, including the value they contributed and celebrating their achievements along the journey. Handwritten thank you notes expressing gratitude can go a long way, and shared with their family and friends about the value they contributed, a feeling of accomplishment. Sharing credit in team and company meetings with a small gift like a voucher to something they are interested in, like JB-Hi-Fi, Apple store, Westfield, favourite café and or movie voucher, just to name a few. It is not about how much you spend but the thought and understanding of what is important and valued by your employees, including how you communicate it.

Respect, also called esteem, is a positive feeling or action shown towards someone or something considered important or held in high esteem or regard. It conveys a sense of admiration for good or valuable qualities.

When we have more civil environments, high standards on executing with core values in mind, clear expectations/outcomes, respect and tender-heartedness, it lifts the performance, productivity and creativity of your people and improves happiness and well-being both at work and at home. Most people strive to have meaningful work and meaningful relationships. 

In my experience, passion is a bonus; it is more important to identify where you are willing to invest your precious effort and time, exploring what this looks like to get to your desired outcomes and milestones.

Tips; daily reflection questions to ask yourself before you start work for five minutes to be your best self today;

  • Who do I want to be today?
  • What is my mindset intention today, regardless of the known and unknown obstacles? 
  • What difference will I make (keeping in mind three top initiatives and or priorities, thinking through the desired outcome, purpose and why it is important)?

Reflection questions at the end of the workday;

  • Did I reach my intention as planned at the start of the day?
  • Was I prepared to communicate the WHY/ purpose clearly in all interactions?
  • Did I demonstrate agility when things didn’t go to plan?
  • What have I learnt and will do differently starting tomorrow?
  • What are one to three things I am grateful for? Often obstacles or when things don’t go to plan can hijack the great things in our day. 


Why does it matter how you show up at work and home?

Emotions are contagious subconsciously, and it can affect the mood, performance and productivity of those around you. The reverse is also true; if you are happy, joyous, positive and calm, you can lift the performance and productivity of those around you.

In our current frenetic world, being calm is critical to creating ideas and solutions and making sound decisions. Emotions are like the weather. You get to decide daily whether you bring sunshine, clouds, rain or lightning.

Lynn Goldberg, Co-Founder of the Breethe meditation and mindfulness app, has a technique for regulating emotion and building resilience. It is called R.A.I.N;

  • Recognise
  • Allow
  • Investigate
  • Non-identify – which means letting go of the attachment – like water off a duck’s back.


Click here to arrange a 30-minute complimentary session to discuss your key learnings from this article, including how to apply the reflection questions and the R.A.I.N technique in your situation and environment.


Being civil isn’t just about motivating others…it is about YOU.
If you are civil and respect others, you’re more likely to be seen as a leader. You’ll perform better and be seen as warm and competent.

Think about who you want to be in every interaction and how you want to show up regardless of the challenges and obstacles you face.


About Vannessa McCamley

Vannessa McCamley is a leadership and performance expert specialising in neuroscience practices that help individuals, teams and businesses grow in meaningful ways whilst delivering measurable results in healthy ways.

She is passionate about helping people and businesses overcome obstacles and enabling them to reach their strategic goals. She brings more than 20 years of business experience to collaborating with individuals at all levels and from several industries.

She is the author of Rewire for Success, an easy guide to using neuroscience to improve choices for work, life and wellbeing. 


Book info: https://linksuccess.com.au/rewire-for-success/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vannessa-mccamley/

Contact us: https://linksuccess.com.au/contact-us/