Art school prepped me well for hearing the truth, especially when it's bad news. I can hear and most importantly digest constructive and not so constructive criticism. Thank you San Francisco Art Institute. But, not everyone is in the same boat. So how do we deliver the news when we see a friend, or a trusted colleague making a poor business decision, believing their own hype, and losing perspective?
Truth telling is delicate for sure. And not everyone is dying to know what we really think. When we really care about someone though, the truth is most important. I trust Sarah to keep me in check and because we have this understanding I'm not blindsided by the delivery. In short truth telling needs to be agreed upon. It's a relationship. We both agreed we were up for it. Find a friend, start your own truth telling brigade. Do it now! When you are ready, here are some tips to get the conversation going:
- It's all in the delivery. "Hey jerk, that sucks," is probably not too helpful. Best to let your truth brigade partner know that the truth is coming. "Hey Sarah, let's talk," is a lot better.
- Privacy Pleeeeease! Truth telling does not need an audience. One on one is best.
- Be specific. "Eeeeeeew. I don't like this part," is the least helpful thing ever. Try not to sound like a pre-teen girl. Give clear and detailed feedback and information. "I know you think that you do not have time for x and y, but here's why you should make time to get it done." That works.
- Follow up. Be aware of how your dose of truth was received. Ask. Whoa what a concept. "How did that feel?" So simple right? Being part of a truth brigade takes practice. The first few times might hurt a little, especially if you have not been dragged through the mud before.
- Dish what you can take. The truth brigade is not one sided. That would just be called school. It's a two way street. You are giving and receiving, so if you go there, be prepared to receive the same level of scrutiny.
So there you have it. I think I just started a truth brigade. Make that Truth Brigade. Are you in?