For better or worse I tend to care a lot about the happiness of the people around me.  For example, I tend to think I’m a hospitable host when I have guests over for dinner.  I feel guilty when I may have made someone unhappy, self-conscious, or otherwise upset.  And I’m eager to hear coworkers’ opinions when I’m proposing a big plan or debating a difficult topic.

In a lot of ways caring so much for those around me is a good thing for all the reasons it’s good to be a nice person.  But in the workplace I’m starting to believe that more importantly than caring about others’ well being is caring about solving the problem at hand, about being decisive and moving forward.  And second to being decisive and productive, one should be nice.  Now depending on your job, others’ well being may be top priority, for example if you’re a leader at a company, a manager, or anyone else directly influencing others’ happiness.  But among peers and anyone above you in a company hierchy, decisiveness matters most.

I’ve always considered my coworkers my friends, but now I’m starting to understand that relationships are different at the workplace.  Business matters in this context more than friendship.  Or at least friendship can be put aside temporarily while business is conducted, while decisions are made and projects and teams are moved forward.  I’m learning to be decisive, to express my opinion instead of a statement I’ve constructed that might make someone else feel better, that someone else is more likely to enjoy.