Why Leadership Should Couple Candor with Kindness

February 24, 2020

Contributed by Rebecca Morgan CSP, CMC – Owner, Morgan Seminar Group
HR West 2020 Speaker Session: Leadership Lessons from Silicon Valley.

Couple Candor with Kindness in 2020

Candor can be a wonderful gift in the workplace. In its absence, many people think they are doing well when really, they are alienating others right and left.

Having consulted with HR and business leadership for some three decades, I’ve seen as much dysfunction resulting from “no candor” as from having too much.

When feeling compelled to deliver unpleasant feedback, it is common to preface it with “I just want to be honest.”  This seems to then release the (feedback) giver from any need to couch the comments in a way that takes into consideration of how their words might affect the receiver.

Candor can spew forth judgmental and overarching comments. The feedback giver will often have the delusion that they are just being helpful,

More often than not, candor is really an excuse to tell off the receiver or share a perception of the person–which isn’t necessarily shared by anyone else.

The result is the receiver can get defensive or hurt. They can lash out, or withdraw, feeling that they have no redeeming qualities.

What’s missing in the vast majority of cases is kindness.

If the comments are delivered with some thought about timing, location, and word choice, the message is much more likely to be heard and received. The receiver can then decide what actions, if any, are warranted.

The next time you feel you need to give some honest feedback, take some time to think through how you will say it, as well as when and where. In doing so, you are more likely to make a difference with the receiver (of your feedback), rather than alienate the person.

My HR West 2020 session, Leadership Lessons from Silicon Valley will provide further insight into how coupling candor with kindness can lead to amazing results for successful communication in the workplace.


Rebecca Morgan CSP, CMC Photo

Rebecca Morgan CSP, CMC – Morgan Seminar Group

Rebecca L. Morgan, CSP, CMC, is an international speaker, trainer, and consultant specializing in leadership development implementation. She’s appeared on 60 Minutes, Oprah, the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, Forbes.com and USA Today as well as international media such as The Straits Times, Brunei Times, and The Malaysian Star. A decades-long Silicon Valley resident with a multitude of innovative clients, she’s studied the best practices of companies who’ve created, survived and/or thrived with disruption. Rebecca is the bestselling author of 28 books, including “Leadership Lessons from Silicon Valley: How to Survive and Thrive in Disruptive Times” and “Grow Your Key Talent: Thought-Provoking Essays for Business Owners, Executives, and Managers on Developing Star Staff.” Her customized presentations are thought-provoking, highly interactive, and full of immediately usable ideas. She knows what works. Since 1980 Rebecca has transformed executives, managers, salespeople, and customer support staff into much more effective workplace contributors.

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