Welcome to management. Regardless of your title or position, you are a manager. It doesn’t matter whether you are the Queen of England or a hot dog seller at the stadium. You are always, always, always managing people. Sometimes you do it as the leader, but often you do it in your role as a team player, trying to be effective. The key to effective management: diplomacy. Sometimes, we have to tone down certain things or play up other things in order to get our message heard. In no way does that signify selling out. The challenge is to lead effectively while staying true to our own values and beliefs.
Think about the advantages of communicating with diplomacy, and the disadvantages you face when it is lacking. Manage a waiter or waitress wrong and you might get bad service or, perhaps, be served somebody else’s leftovers. Bully your kid’s principal and you might make things even tougher for him or her at school. Use the wrong tone with your neighbor and the next thing you know, you’re in front of Judge Judy because your dog barked. Be too tough on the volunteers in your organization and suddenly you’re not just the president, but the one stuck stuffing envelopes, too. For some people, the concepts of tact and diplomacy are innate, and for others, the art of restraint is completely foreign. It’s hard to believe that seemingly innocuous statements can cause resentments that destroy work partnerships or lifelong friendships.
The right words at the right time can create an unforgettable moment of goodwill and appreciation. That doesn’t mean you should become smiley and fake in order to be heard. It means you need to think about what others want.