The Hidden Meaning of Brutal Honesty
Those who take pride in being “brutally honest” are typically more interested in being brutal than they are in being honest.
Indeed, sometimes difficult and uncomfortable things need to be said (and honesty in saying them is very important!). Usually, however, they can be said with tact and kindness.
Being “brutally honest” is often more about the person speaking than about the person they are speaking to.
When I posted this on my Facebook page I received lots of comments; most in agreement. But, several people seemed to equate tactful, diplomatic honesty with a lack of authenticity. I’ve seen that same sentiment expressed in other posts and articles, as well.
Hmmmm. That concerns me.
Why? Because, I cannot understand why that dilemma would even come into play? In other words…
Why would someone believe that honesty must necessarily include brutality?
And, for that matter, that to be less than brutal in your honesty is to somehow be less honest or authentic?
Sure, there’s a time and place for most things. And, a small percentage of the time, there might need to be brutality in that honesty.
But, that’s a small — an extremely small — percentage of the time.
Usually we can be honest in such a way that it effectively communicates the point while still allowing the other person to feel good about themselves. To strengthen rather than diminish.
As my friend, People Skills Authority and Coach, Kate Nasser teaches, “Civility doesn’t weaken your message; it helps others to hear & embrace it.”
And, a very tough but successful General and later U.S. president, Dwight D. Eisenhower even said: “You don’t lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership.”
And, I believe it’s the same when dealing honestly with anyone.
What do you think?