Blunt Management

While out at a restaurant, I said, “Tell me how your son feels when you say he’s a sissy and golf’s like a girl. Did you see the look on your daughter’s face when you refused to go bowling with her? You need to realize you are not king in this house and other people have feelings also. Just because you’re in a bad mood doesn’t mean you have the right to take it out on other family members.”

I could tell no one had talked to him like this before. Everyone walked on eggshells, living in fear he would yell at them. I calmly and assertively told him how I observed his negative influence on his family. The next day, he admitted he needed to change, so that his children wouldn’t hate him. Am I a miracle worker? No. But there comes a time when bluntness is more effective then gentle hints.

Another Blunt Example

Want a great, yet disgusting example of when bluntness is required? An employee at a management firm (who shall go by the pseudonym of Jane Doe) lacked social skills. While her work was adequate, Jane’s behavior in the lunchroom caused many a complaint from co-workers. She ate quickly, then sat and stared at other people. No conversation, just a simple and constant stare. People would try and engage her in conversation or get her to eat slower, but to no avail.

While this habit was annoying, it was just a lead-up to what happened after 5-10 minutes of staring. Without being too graphic, as people ate lunches, Jane sat at the cafeteria table and put her finger in her nose and then into her mouth. No amount of hinting to get her to stop did the trick. Finally her supervisor took her aside and simply said, “Jane, it is a disgusting habit to put your finger in your nose and then your mouth. Other employees don’t want to sit next to you when you do that. Please stop.” Jane looked a bit taken back, yet agreed to stop. Suddenly the cafeteria was once again a pleasant place to eat lunch. Sometimes you just have to be blunt.

Silvana Clark is a business speaker who uses humor, contests, props and PANIC buttons to help businesses cope with change and reduce stress. If you want your own computer PANIC button, check out www.panicbuttons.com. Or, if you want a speaker for your conference or training event, check out www.silvanaclark.com.

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