Some time ago I had an interesting exchange of arguments. It all started with some difficult decision which was communicated to one of team members.
“You should have use recent reorganization as a reason and not tell the guy he failed with tasks he had. He would have taken it better” I heard from a colleague.
What the hell?
I mean yes, he would have taken it better. I would postpone the problem but it would come back bigger and stronger to bite me head off. But it isn’t the worst thing. The worst thing is I would finally have to put my cards on the table – tell the real reasons standing behind the decision and this would be exactly the moment when the whole trust I built would make “puff” and disappear. Basically this would be the end of our cooperation as the guy would feel betrayed, which would feel so proper by the way.
So no, I choose to be honest and straightforward. I choose to deliver critical feedback even if I see no way to sweeten the thing. Yes, I risk being called an asshole but if I prefer to use arguments and not excuses even if the latter hurt less. In the long run that’s how you build trust.