A person I respect, gave me some feedback on my last post “Being Responsibly Direct”. He said that he had a hard time doing this because he was afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. Honestly, I had not considered this possibility.
It’s noble not to want to hurt any feelings. No one does.
My suggestion around being responsibly direct is more valid either in an organizational setting or when you are working with someone directly.
When asking them directly what you are not sure about or when you tell them honestly what you are seeing, your intent should not be to hurt but rather to align. First to align ourselves to the reality of the situation. There may be things that we, ourselves, have wrong.
The opposite can be true as well. Where we see things in proper perspective but the person or group we are working with is not. Again, what we are seeking is alignment.
Without alignment, it’s hard to accomplish much as a group or as an individual with those around us.
The perception of being direct is too aggressive and that it will hurt feelings is not true when alignment is what we seek. After our conversations with others, they may feel hurt.
When this occurs, we must be honest and open and explain why you were so direct in your questions or raising certain issues. Alignment brings power to any group that is trying to accomplish anything.
The fear of hurting feelings is something that should not stop us from trying to understand each other better. Especially when the outcome of our work matters.