Hile Rutledge
Trainer, author

Hile Rutledge

CEO and owner of OKA (Otto Kroeger Associates), a training and consulting firm specializing in leadership and team development.

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Holding the tension

Q: Are successful people blunt by nature? In recent weeks, retired NFL star John Riggins has been scathingly critical of his former team, the Washington Redskins. Is his take-no-prisoners rhetoric typical for achievers? Do the tactful accomplish more?

Like so many things that contribute to success, truth vs. tact is a polarity that is more beneficial when balanced as opposed to having one side "win" or take over.

Someone who without fail tells the unvarnished truth will find herself alienated by others who do not want or need the "truth" as seen by the truth-teller. Your political view, personal value or actual opinion on my performance may not be as needed as you believe.

On the other hand, the person who hides behind tact, not willing or able to tell the truth when it is hard or socially unsupported will find himself marginalized for being dishonest or conflict-avoidant. Your need to shelter a relationship or spare a disagreement may in the end be the most damaging thing to that connection.

Tact or truth-telling, therefore, is a false choice. Success comes from someone's abliity to hold the tension between the two and knowing when to pull on the value of each -- so consider the relationship, consider the truth and decide how both will be best served by your action.

By Hile Rutledge  |  November 16, 2009; 8:54 AM ET  | Category:  tactless or truth-tellers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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