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…They’re always worried I’m going to get into trouble.” – Steve Madden



I am – generally speaking – very careful with my words. I consider how others are likely to take something before saying it, and if I determine that it’s likely to be “badly”, I soften the message in my head before delivering it to its intended. As such, people like former Steven Madden, Ltd. CEO Steve Madden (quoted above) have always fascinated me.

…Always saying what you think – what you really think – can be off-putting and even offensive. And for this reason most of us have installed a filter between our mouths and our brains to regulate our proclivity towards occasionally saying things which might adversely impact our reputations and relationships with others.

With that said, lately I am discovering that the trade-offs associated with communicating watered-down messages are that the people receiving them occasionally miss their true meaning. I’m finding that in order to instill in others a sense of urgency sometimes we must tell hard-truths just as they are – even if that means offending. This reality is particularly salient in HR, where we spend a lot of time management couching. If a manager is new, weak (or both), they often struggle with coaching and feedback. In such cases, if HR doesn’t counsel on the imperative of conveying things as they are then it typically won’t get done at all.

So as we get started this week I want to encourage you – be you a manager, performance coach, or other – to look at your day-to-day and identify opportunities where you can be a little more frank. In doing so you will (hopefully) not only make someone aware of something that makes them a little bit better, but you will also gain a unique feeling of personal liberation…

It’s the sort that can only be gained through finding your voice.

Happy Monday,