Have you ever been told you need to be more tactful, stop wearing your heart on your sleeve or be a little more careful displaying your emotions? If so, you’re not alone. It needs to be addressed carefully, partly because it is usually perceived as being a prerequisite for senior management. I will admit that many may wonder if this is true when they look at their own senior management, but let’s stick with best practice, okay?
Almost all of the people I meet who have had this feedback wear their “what you see is what you get” badge with pride — “people know where they stand with me” – and it has been a core value for decades. So when they get this feedback, an automatic reaction kicks in. They jump to the conclusion (not an unusual thing for them to do) that they are being asked to cover up what they are really thinking. This starts to create an internal stress and a rejection of the need to change – in other words, a blockage.
A little thought however usually reveals that what is actually being asked for is that they learn to communicate in a more sensitive manner, mindful of other people’s feelings and reactions. This is completely different from to lying, hiding or covering up what they are really thinking. What is required is a little thought before speaking to consider the situation and the most appropriate way of communicating with integrity. It does not mean that you have to become all soft and cuddly, treading on eggshells and trying not to upset people. Indeed, most people really do want to know where they stand with others and actually respect people who tell the truth even if it is a little uncomfortable. People who can be frank and sensitive win the highest trust, loyalty and recognition.