It pays to be nice…

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NEW ATTITUDE: Michael O'Leary's new policy paying off.


I’M just back from a trip abroad and the entire process of booking the low-cost flight couldn’t have been easier.

While I normally need a stiff drink in hand to handle the frustration of reserving a plane ticket on the Ryanair website, their new updated and user-friendly browser is a pleasure to navigate.

Apparently Michael O’Leary, renowned for his “my way or the highway” attitude – yes, the one who used to make people pay extortionate amounts for forgetting to print out the boarding ticket – has turned over a new leaf. The airline adopted a strategy of being nicer to customers last autumn with O’Leary deciding that the firm should try to ‘eliminate things that unnecessarily p*** people off’. And so far being nice has been a success, with Ryanair admitting that its earnings have soared in the last three months.

A new study backs up this it pays to be nice philosophy. While bosses who scream and micromanage their way to the top, are still common in today’s workplaces, according to the report the best bosses are humble bosses, those who empower and appreciate their employees, are open to feedback and care about the greater good.

There tends to be a stereotype that humble people are weak people that get walked all over. Humble people may be quieter, more in the background, but they lead in a different way, by empowering their employees, and this trickles down making humble bosses strong bosses, says the report.

The qualities of a humble boss include: self-awareness, openness to feedback, appreciation of others and low self-focus. All of which are traits that help humble bosses acknowledge their weaknesses as well as their strengths, and therefore learn, grow and succeed.

Controlling and tough bosses may be surprised by the study results, but maybe it’s time we understood that humility isn’t a sign of weakness or lacking confidence, but rather, a good thing that can benefit us all.

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