I’m often the “bad guy.” In my family people know that if something needs to be said, regardless of whether it’s comfortable or not, it’s likely to come from my mouth. I’m also known for not sugar-coating very much at all when I speak. In a recent yearly review with my manager, it was mentioned more than once by her that my communication is very direct and clear and that people always know what I think, whether good or bad. (For the record, this was cited as a strength which I bring to the company and one for which my manager is glad to have me on her team.) I’ve also been asked to review a few tools at work and the Indian gal (whose first language is not English) who asked me said like, “We want your bad feedback.” Of course, she meant that she wanted me to offer what she knew I’d bring to the table anyway: Very open, honest, and direct discussion, even if critical.
This kind of trait in someone is often valued, but not appreciated – if that makes sense. Everyone values the idea of having someone they can super trust, but most people end up just getting pissed because of the honesty that comes with that trust. And often, a big part of that is the frequency of spades being called spades. People are so used to judging spades for being spades that they might gloss over an instance of spadery being called such, but without that usual judgement. They just assume judgement is happening. This is something that is part of the exhausting work placed on the shoulders of someone like me: Seeing spades without judgement and always having to explain the lack of judgement to others – which also means explaining that they too can call a spade a spade without judging. I’m repeatedly baffled that people struggle so much with this. People are terribly judgmental – so much so, in fact, that it becomes automatic too much of the time.
Maria Wirth, as I’ve written here before, is an inspiration. Back in May of this year she published a post to her WordPress blog which talks about this to a degree and goes into the importance of it. Of course, a bit of her point DOES hinge on making the call to label something as good or bad, which is usually a form of judgement. But she makes her point in a very civilized way and I encourage you to click here to have a look for yourself as she’s far more eloquent than I am.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti