I’ve never been accused of being too direct in my conversations with others. Chalk it up to being a pastor’s son and a former campaign manager for someone running for state senator, but I’ve just developed this knack for communicating with people without employing a very direct tone and posture. And, I’ve found it to be successful for me as a leader.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and place for directness – and I’ve had to do it plenty…it’s just not my every day way of communicating. And, I am not suggesting that leaders do not address mistakes and failures when they happen, because we should. I am simply suggesting that there may be a different way that should, at least, be considered.
When you lead others, it is about more than just a job to be done. And, although we say that “it’s nothing personal,” the fact is that many people cannot separate the two. A good leader will not only consider what needs to be done or what has been done wrong and needs addressed, but will also consider how one might receive the communication that is coming from the person that they follow.
For me, when I’ve made mistakes or missed deadlines, there hasn’t been anything that a boss could have said to me that would beat me up worse than I was already inflicting upon myself – I call this negative self-talk. So, when a boss would be overly direct at my point of mistake, it would only greatly compound the issue and make me feel even worse about myself.
I believe that a mature leader is one who knows a situation and his/her people will enough to know when to be direct or not to be direct. Too much ‘directness’ to someone like me can have a paralyzing effect and that’s not what I or a boss would want. So, if a boss knows me, he would know that directness is not necessary every single time.
A mature leader, I believe, reserves directness for moments when someone has tried to take advantage or has been blatantly insubordinate in some way.
What do you think? Do you consider yourself to be a direct person? Have you ever worked for someone that felt like they needed to address each mistake you’ve made in a direct way?