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Hey, I just say it like it is!

Hey, I just say it like it is!

Nicola Hopes

1 November 2022

How many times have you heard (or said) the phrase – ‘I just say it like it is. I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to get stuff done’. Argh! 

And how many times has it been met with universal approval? Never. 

But…we all need to share our ideas or concerns. To challenge and be heard. 

So, let’s try to resolve that conundrum. Grab a cuppa and settle in for the next tool in your autumn / winter toolkit to make it all a bit easier.  

I call it: TOO direct or not TOO direct? That’s the question. 

Do you have that perfect image of yourself you’d love to be true? That halo-covered head who gets the perfect balance… 

  • Open and honest without putting off those around you  
  • A point of view worth listening to, who also listens to others 
  • Knows when to hold firm and when to compromise 
  • A strong AND vulnerable leader in all the right ways. 

Ahh. Just imagine how marvellous you’d be. They’d write books about you. And give you a massive pay rise! 

But it’s not an easy balance to strike: 

  • Too strong and you’re a heat seeking missile who people cower from  
  • Too accommodating and you’re a pushover who nobody really respects 

In reality, nobody gets it right all of the time but there are a few simple questions to help you make the right call more often.  

How to be perfectly direct 

So, before you tear into the next room and tell them exactly what you think… ask yourself the following. 

Who do I want to be? 

  • What’s authentically me in terms of directness? 
  • What do I want to be famous for? What’s the downside of that? 
  • How direct does my role require me to be? 
  • What are the values of the organisation and how does that manifest?

What do I need from this discussion?  

  • Do I need opinions and ideas or consensus? 
  • Do I want them to agree or to challenge me?  
  • How do I want them to feel afterwards – clear and focussed or consulted and bought in? 

Who are they?  

  • Does this person or team love a robust debate? Or do they prefer a gentle challenge to get there together? 
  • Do you know each other well enough to really get into it? Or are relationships still forming? 
  • Is it an even playing field? Do all the participants have the same ‘authority’ or are there inequities that make a hard debate unfair? 

Taking 5 minutes to ask yourself these key questions over breakfast, in the shower or on the train – before a key meeting – will help get that balance right. 

Oh, and tell me when you get to the halo-perfect state – I want to write that book! 

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