As early as the 10th grade, I can remember a friend saying, “Kenneth, you have no tact.” It’s true, I can be a pretty direct communicator. It may simultaneously be one of my best attributes and my biggest flaws. On the HBR Blog Network, Anthony K. Tjan has shared some key points about directness in his article Have the Courage to Be Direct.
“When we avoid conflict or try to skirt directness, it does a disservice to all involved, and often just plain wastes time.” – Nobody has enough time so wasting it is a pretty serious offense.
“Being assertive and direct does not need to mean being cold and hard. The tone you use and the words you choose…matter a lot.” – Ahhhh, the Achilles heel of direct communicators – style. We direct communicators can be so focused on the message that we forget a real person with feelings and emotions will be receiving it!
Tjan concludes: “Diplomacy is a great virtue but so is clarity, and diplomacy without our clarity is just undiplomatic B.S. Have the courage to be direct.”
Where do you and I need to have the courage to be tactfully direct today?
For more advice and information, check out my website: Kenneth E Fields