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A "culture of nice" sounds, ummm … kinda nice. But a work environment where never is heard a discouraging word can hurt an organization when employees are afraid they will be seen as combative or rocking the boat if they voice an opposing opinion or concern.

Having great relationships at work is critical and wanting colleagues to like you is important, said president of Fierce Conversations, a training company that teaches people how to have effective workplace conversations. "There is a disconnect, however, in what 'nice' entails. Our data suggests that [employees think] being nice means never raising issues or concerns, and never providing negative feedback in any case."