In any organization, communicating with directness is vital to success. But to build a truly healthy culture, directness must go hand-in-hand with compassion. When you combine these qualities, the result is truly powerful, creating a culture of increased clarity and productivity that also values and respects people’s essential humanity.
- Well, compassionate directness is really the ability to communicate critical, important information with compassion and clarity. Often what happens in organizations is information is communicated, but it can be communicated in ways that are rather demeaning, don't respect the person who's being communicated to, they're unclear in the communication. And what happens then is that there can become a culture of un-clarity, a culture of lack of compassion.
That idea that because I said it, do it. One of the elements that we found with compassion directness can be really important is you begin to build a relationship with your team, where you're telling them what they need to hear, so you're direct with them. But you're doing it in a way where they feel honored, or they feel like they're learning, like they're growing, or they feel like you care about them. There's an old statement, people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
And then, many leaders have difficulty, challenges often, in creating an environment where people feel cared for. When we look at it, you can almost see it as a quadrant, where some people are compassionate but they're not direct. Some people are direct, but they're not compassionate. And then, some people lean so far on that scale of compassion that they're unwilling to share or say what needs to be said.
Or they lean so far on the scale of directness that what they say is said without any care or concern for who's hearing it. What we're looking for is a blend and when we talk to companies, and we talk to clients, often they'll have a culture already that's built in and that culture may be, we're really a direct culture here. People say what they think. And, Arianna has a statement, we're not interested in the brilliant jerks.
You can create a culture where people just say whatever they want, but you'll find in those cultures that people will tend to, there will be a segment of that population who will leave. And they tend to be the most sensitive people, the people who tend to be more emotional, and those kinds of things. But those people are really critical to the overall build of an organization. You need those people along with the people that don't tend to have as much emotional response to those kinds of things.
Simultaneously, if your organization becomes so emotionally driven, where everyone is walking around with tremendous amount of compassion and everyone cares so much for each other. They don't wanna give anyone any negative feedback, you will find that the organization will slow down, it won't grow, it'll atrophy because the feedback that people need to get to grow, to get better, won't be given. No one wants to hurt each other's feelings. So in that challenge of what is compassion? Compassion is really that ability to have empathy for someone else, to share with them what it is that you care about them.
Directness is the ability to say what the truth is in a way that's clear, that people understand and get it. If you put the two together, having a level of clarity in your communication, where people understand that you also care about them, we found that if they know you care, you can say just about anything because they know that you have their best interests in mind. So creating a culture a compassionate directness means that you have to create a culture where people trust, where they feel safe, where they believe that you care.