I worked for a short time with an Administrator with many years of experience leading teams in both for-profit and not-for-profit Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living facilities. Whilst he and I held differing opinions on a number of operational strategies, he had a certain professional philosophy that I shall never forget; one which has given me plenty of fuel for thought over the years. He simply said, “Be nice”. He believed that if all residents and employees were nice to one another, the vast majority of the day-to-day challenges that happen in a busy senior living community would no longer exist. Imagine if there were no longer squabbles between residents, if all employees treated one another with kindness and respect and if everyone just went about their day with positive attitude and a smile. It would be so nice!
My middle school English teacher would be horrified; the word “nice” was forbidden in her classroom. She said that there so many more descriptive adjectives that could be used in the place of “nice” and anyone who mistakenly used it in a moment of forgetfulness was sure to be on the receiving end of her wrath. But really, what’s wrong with being “nice”? Of course Activity Professionals are nice to residents, as by profession we are their cheerleaders and encouragers. Activity Professionals are usually able to foster strong relationships with family members and friends of residents, because we’re the ones who truly listen to what their loved ones want and respond by always prioritizing quality of life. But how nice are we to our co-workers? To our supervisors? To our professional colleagues? To our own family and friends? Being an Activity Professional is physically and emotionally exhausting, and it’s hard to be nice when you’re tired and when people aren’t nice to you. We have to be the role models for others; to be nice even when least feel like it.
Top ten ways to just “be nice”:
- Compliment others. Compliments are free – so give as many as you can every day. People like to feel special, and a compliment from you can mean more to someone than you will ever know.
- Be sincere. No one trusts a faker.
- Be grateful. Thank others often. Appreciate the small favors. Pass on blessings you have received.
- Be kind. Offer words of encouragement. Uplift broken spirits. Spread a little joy.
- Don’t just wait for your turn to speak.
- Pay attention. Stay engaged. Don’t allow your eyes or ears to wander when someone is talking to you.
- Demonstrate that you paid attention and care about helping others and implementing change for the common good.
- Always stay in control of your emotions – at least in public.
- Be a person of integrity. Keep your word. Tell the truth.
- Never gossip or talk about others. Don’t get involved in other people’s business or think you can solve others’ problems. They aren’t your burdens to bear or your problems to fix.