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Blog written by recruiter Koreena Geisler-Wagner.

What does it mean to be a good person? While this is clearly a subjective topic, and one which would incite a variety of answers, there is a base, underlying feeling we all experience when in the presence of “good people.” We might not be able to articulate exactly what makes a person “good,” but we can all point to a few specific individuals that fit this broad (and yet oddly specific) criteria. In “Why Good People are Successful People,” an excerpt from Good People: The Only Leadership Decision That Really Matters, Anthony Tjan discusses why being a “good person” is the single, most important decision and pursuit an individual can undertake, especially in the workplace.

Tjan clarifies some of the ambiguity associated with the word “good” to better inform his discussion:

There are two sides of the word. When hiring employees and managing teams, we often use “good” as a synonym for “competent.” But “goodness” is far more than a person’s competencies; goodness is about people’s humanity, their values, the qualities inherent in their character, and other intangible traits. We, therefore, need to distinguish goodness as competency from goodness as values, and we need to understand that the latter ought to take greater priority.

He describes the success of WD-40 and links it back to the inherent goodness of its CEO, company leaders, and the trickle-down effect of their “good” leadership qualities: “these leaders are committed to improving everyone around them just as much as they are committed to improving themselves. They feel a duty to serve others by inspiring and shaping them to become the best, fullest version of themselves.”

Want to be successful in the workplace? To be a leader and inspire others? The secret is not what you expect: be a good person.

Photo: retrieved from Pixabay, available under the public domain.


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