These occurrences often start with an exchange of emails or texts. One person thrusts with nasty words, then the other one parries with sarcasm. Before long, it’s common that the following words appear:
“I’m not going to apologize for being brutally honest.”
“Well neither am I!”
Real, helpful honesty requires no brutal words, actions, tone, or delivery. It engages people in wanting to be part of a collaborative dialogue rather than retort, react, or run.
It’s delivered in a conversation, not through cold and impersonal emails, chat windows, or text. Honesty, done right, also follows the three rules for Direct Compassion.The most effective leaders and team members only occasionally need to apologize for poor communication and, if they do, don’t hide behind not wanting to or over-used cliches like “brutally honest.”
Brutality, be it honest or not, serves no positive purpose between people who desire lasting professional or personal relationships. Efficient communication is always a dialogue, not the one-sided monologue that happens too often because of technology.
Radical Accountability Action: Pick up the phone or, even better, have a meeting when you have to deliver feedback or need to resolve an issue. And be sure to follow those three rules of Direct Compassion.