It Pays to Be Nice

June 23, 2015 Updated: June 23, 2015
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When David Rand first established his Human Cooperation Lab at Yale University Rand’s research center , he was clear about the kind of culture he wanted to promote.

Rand’s research center is devoted to examining the behavioral economics of niceness, and over the years his studies have pointed to one clear takeaway: Being collegial is good for both individual workers and for businesses as a whole.

The conclusions of Rand’s studies support corporate do-gooders. Judging by his research, you should be nice even if you don’t trust the other person. In fact, you should keep on being nice even if the other person is using you.

Mahatma Gandhi, left, interviewed by AP reporter James A. Mills in Borsad, India, 1931. (AP Photo/James A. Mills Collection)
Mahatma Gandhi, left, interviewed by AP reporter James A. Mills in Borsad, India, 1931. (AP Photo/James A. Mills Collection)

Also, people in all industries increasingly desire leaders who are more like Gandhi and less like Gordon Gekko.

Fred Kiel, head of the executive development firm KRW international, recently studied 84 CEOs and more than 8,000 of their employees over the course of seven years. The results, written up in the Kiel’s recent book Return on Character, found that people worked harder and more happily when they felt valued and respected. So-called “character-driven” CEOs who possess four virtues—integrity, compassion, forgiveness, and accountability—lead companies whose returns on assets are five times larger than those of executives who are more self-centered, he found.

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This article was originally published on www.theatlantic.com. Read the complete article here.