Clear is Kind. Unclear is Unkind. I heard those words a few months back when I was listening to Brene Brown’s book Dare to Lead on a drive from Sioux Falls to Grand Forks. I thought it was incredibly insightful at the time. Fast forward a few months, a dozen projects, and hundreds of conversations, emails, and the like and those words are pure genius.
For anyone who knows me, they know that I sift through articles, blogs, and books for insights like Indiana Jones looking for the lost ark. I am a glutton for information. So, the fact that this phrase pops in my head every week, even after all the countless words I have ingested, means something.
If you haven’t read or listened to the book, you can find an excerpt of this concept here https://brenebrown.com/blog/2018/10/15/clear-is-kind-unclear-is-unkind/ and perhaps this will compel you further to get the book. She also cusses when describing some of the concepts, which I find strangely comforting.
To summarize, most of us (especially us Midwesterners – this is my interjection not Brown’s) avoid clarity because we think we are being kind to the other person. In actuality, when we feed people half-truths or bullshit (these are Brown’s words), it is usually about making ourselves feel more comfortable in the situation. And, here is the double whammy: not being clear with your coworker, client, or consultant, yet holding them accountable for not delivering is really, really unkind.
Think about how many times you “sugarcoat” a review of a project and then are annoyed when you get something back that is less then spectacular. Or when you simply forward an email to someone expecting them to magically understand what you want them to do with the contents of that email. I have been on both the giving and receiving end of these situations. Not kind.
This is also #truth at home. Like when your husband uses the bathroom and doesn’t put the seat down. You go in there after him and forcefully put the seat down and think because he heard you do that, he clearly understands that you would prefer him to put the seat down since we are house full of girls and there are guests over. Not kind. And annoying (for both of us).
The only downer about this whole thing is that I must relearn this lesson about twice a week. But it is definitely worth relearning. This is just one of the great takeaways from Brown’s book Dare to Lead. Hope it was clear I thought this is a good book!