“I Just Tell It Like It Is” and Other Excuses We Tell Ourselves
Have you ever been guilty of saying something like “I Just Tell It Like It Is”? Especially when what you said has angered someone or at least they got “put off”?
I know at least a couple of people who seem to routinely say this when they knowingly have left a trail of unhappy people in their dust. I had someone tell me a story where they had left someone fairly enraged. In the story, they had used this as part of the explanation of why they said what they said. I was asked my thoughts on it, as they wanted to know if they were wrong in saying what they had said.
My first response to their question of me was to ask them a question. “Is the relationship with this person important to you personally or professionally?” I wanted to know because the response was really most relevant to that one thought. If the relationship didn’t matter, then what they said also didn’t matter regardless of whether or not it angered the other person.
The response I got was: “Of course, the relationship matters but I shouldn’t have to tip-toe around this other person. I had to give them my honest opinion.”
- There is a difference between giving honest, open input and being rude or thoughtless in how you phrase things. I think people often hide behind rudeness saying they are simply being honest. This is lazy. Think through how you say things to others – it always matters.
- There are 100’s of ways of being honest in what you say to others. Being conscious in what and how you say it will go a long way to preserving the relationship – and potentially even inspiring the other person.
- Not everything warrants comment. Have you ever had someone say something about you or something you had done that was really unwelcome? If you feel compelled to say something, make it useful and constructive. Also realize that if you weren’t asked for your opinion, they most likely don’t want it no matter how constructive it is.
- Even if you’re the boss, you need to think through the best way to speak about their poor results, when poor results have taken place and impact you in some way. You have to understand that when we do something – anything – part of us is tied to this thing emotionally. To insult the by-product of anyone’s effort is to insult them at a personal level. If your goal is to correct the result of what another person did, then discuss expectations versus outcome. To flatly say “This is crap” (or a close version) not only lacks any constructive information to do anything with, its insulting and as far from “relationship nurturing” as possible.
Don’t fool yourself by thinking its ok to say anything in any way you want. Most of the people in your life and work are people that are important to your future. Invest in your future by honest AND well thought out communication.
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