I saw this tweet from the Tom Peters (@tom_peters), the management guru, the other day and it really struck a cord with me.

I can’t say I always felt that way, there was a time I would have put “nice person” lower down on my criteria for hiring someone. My younger self would have said nice is nice but smarts are way smarter. I still believe smarts are important (as is drive, motivation, passion) but I have come to firmly believe nice matters a lot.

Why? Because people who aren’t nice have a harder time getting along well with others and getting along well is one of the keys to building a high-performing team (HPT) and creating HPTs is one of the keys to going from ordinary performance to extraordinary performance. See it here.

If we start with the premise that you look for motivated and driven people with passion then I would take someone 75% as smart if they were nice and the other person wasn’t. In very few cases will your hiring decision be about a single person’s performance, it is about building a team that will achieve maximum performance.

So hire nice people that are reasonable smart and motivated and driven and have passion. With the right leadership those people are way more likely to build teams that perform at a high level day-in-day-out than a bunch of super smart folks that aren’t willing to get along with each other and put the focus on the team’s overall success.