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Master the art of straight talk

Honesty pays even when it hurts

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in Leaders & Managers,Office Management,Workplace Communication

The ability to express your ideas freely, succinctly and tactfully marks you as a leader. If you obfuscate or resort to clichés rather than concrete opinions, you’ll struggle to manage people effectively.

Follow these rules to speak your mind with clarity and confidence:

Resist hypotheticals. Just because someone asks you “what if ...,” that doesn’t oblige you to speculate. Reinforce what you know rather than guessing.

Example: When Sparky Anderson was interviewed in 1969 for a job as manager of the Cincinnati Reds, the owner asked him, “What would you do if a star pitcher suddenly stormed off the field?” Anderson answered, “I have no idea. If I’m not there on the spot, I can’t tell you how I’d do it. All I can say is that I guarantee you it would get done right.” He got the job and recently entered the Hall of Fame.

Give clear criticism. Be polite but blunt. Cut right to the core; avoid overtalking, apologizing or qualifying. Then don’t rush off: Listen and confirm understanding.

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