Honest or blunt? There is a difference.
Being honest is not a license to be blunt and there are consequences to being blunt.
Are you being honest or are you being blunt?
Honesty is an admirable quality, but it is too easy to use this as a license to be mean. There is being honest and then there is being blunt and blunt is rarely a good thing. My son shared with me an article about Ndamukong Suh's lesson on the difference between being honest and being blunt.
Suh, an in-your-face All-Pro NFL defensive tackle prided himself on being direct and saying whatever he was thinking, regardless of the impact on others. What he discovered was, he became the bad guy, his honestly voiced opinions were causing division in the locker room and on one wanted to hear what he was saying, even when the team might have benefited from his experience.
It's not unusual for the direct, hones person to find themselves alienated from the group. Suh found himself traded as an underperforming star. Fortunately for Suh, after he was traded to a new team he tried something different. In his own words, he did four things:
1. I listened way more than I talked;
2. I paid attention to HOW I interacted with people;
3. I observed others reactions and adjusted as needed; and,
4. I chose my words carefully to be more empathetic.
The result for Suh was much more success on the field. There is a price to being blunt and with a different approach, Suh could still share his opinions but now, his coaches and teammates were listening. His four new behaviors are ones we can all benefit from. Honesty is a good thing but lest be honest without being mean. It takes a little more effort but, as Suh discovered, the effort pays off.
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