I was on a team call recently when one of the members of our team began speaking about an email I’d drafted. She felt the email didn’t work and we had spoken about it earlier and agreed. So, I had a smile on my face as she began describing her feelings about the email. As is probably normal, she was attempting to explain how she felt to the rest without hurting my feelings.
Three sentences later, I decided to interrupt her and just say – “Guys, the point here is that my email sucked. We need to fix it. It shouldn’t be me as I have no passion for the subject.”
We added a quick discussion on why the situation arose, laughed and moved on. Directness takes fewer words.
A friend recently remarked that he doesn’t muck about with hints because hints are a luxury fast growth cannot afford. I noticed this yesterday as I watched this situation. It demonstrated the effect a lack of candor can have on a team. Being direct was just easier on the both of us. And, this directness came from trust we’ve built over months of working with each other.
Over the years, I’ve learnt that directness and candor don’t come easily because they require receivers to develop thicker skins and require the givers to be willing to be unpopular when they call a spade a spade. This stuff may be painful in the short term but the trust borne out of this makes it all incredibly sweet in the long term. Trust is the environment within which great teams are built.
At the very least, you have fewer words and more action.