Facts can be denied.
Facts can be spun.
Facts can be acknowledged.
But facts aren’t brutal.
That’s up to you. Facts are neither emotional nor evaluative. It’s all about perception and interpretation.
Why are you blaming the facts for being brutal? Are you trying to emphasize your evaluation of how critical it is? Are you worried about how the other person might respond? Are you trying to use facts as a weapon to get what you want?
Or maybe the facts invite or require conflict, and you don’t know how to talk about it in a straightforward way.
Instead of blaming the facts, here’s how you can take responsibility for what you do next.
If you are trying to emphasize how critical the facts are, you could say, “This information is really important to me because it means we didn’t meet our goals for the third quarter in a row.”
If you are worried about how the other person is going to respond, you could say, “I am worried about how you are going to take this information.”
If you are trying to weaponize the facts, you aren’t practicing effective leadership.
Fear and intimidation are old-school tactics of unequipped leaders who lack people-skills.
Instead, you could do your job and be clear about the consequences in a respectful way. You could say, “Because of this lawsuit and the controversy surrounding your decision, we are taking you off the team.”
Although facts are important, it’s a myth that they can make you feel good or bad or good. It’s HOW you respond to the facts that makes all the difference.
Great leaders respect the facts, but adjust how they communicate to balance accountability with compassion.
Want to learn how to talk about tough stuff without being brutal? That’s why we developed The Compassion Mindset, our framework for practicing compassionate accountability in every interaction.
Here’s the original field guide for leading with compassionate accountability.