While I was having a feedback session at work today, I was told that I was too diplomatic. That some people find it difficult to approach me and let me know how they truly feel about a particular person/issue.
What is diplomacy? The dictionary defines it to be – the art of dealing with people in a sensitive and tactful way. Going by the dictionary, it actually comes across as a compliment. However, when people are not comfortable in telling you what they really feel, you begin to wonder if diplomacy is a good thing after all.
This is the way I see it-
You are either considered to be a diplomatic person or a brutally honest one. But again, why should things always be black and white? Why can’t you be diplomatic when there isn’t much to lose and be tough when it really matters?
When diplomacy helps-
I choose to be diplomatic because it helps me not to sweat the small stuff. Sometimes, I am okay to agree with the opposite party. I am okay to not put my foot down and do what I think is ‘right’. I am okay to follow the lead of another person. When the stakes are not high and when you have nothing to lose, agreement is the best solution. You can very well disagree, fight it out and make things go your way. But is it really worth the effort and tension? Maybe not.
When diplomacy should go right out of the window-
On the other hand, when you think that your opinion matters and can help solve a problem in a more efficient way, you should definitely disagree. When you think that you putting your foot down is going to help you abide by your values. When the stakes are high and you have a lot to lose, diplomacy can go take a hike. That is when you need to be firm and make yourself heard.
Exercise the obligation to dissent, with caution. Sometimes, it’s okay to let things pass. Sometimes, it is definitely not. It all depends on the situation.