Most of my time is spent sitting with CEOs and working directly with their executive teams.
I’ve observed that there’s an inclination in the councils of the wise to invent ‘spin’ when communicating hard truths. There’s an atavistic reflex to ‘soften the blow.’ Often the motivation is to be nice, and sometimes it’s to dodge responsibility and to be liked by everyone.
I’m opposed to this instinct, for the simple reason that:
Only the truth sounds like the truth
When you tell lies, they sound like lies, they (appropriately) erode trust, and they make you despised, not liked. Everyone can see through spin and half-truths.
When you’re having that tough talk with an employee, why not tell them the truth, as you see it. Resist spinning the situation into something better than it really is.
They may be upset and not like you at first, but they’ll respect you for your honesty. For a leader, it’s much more important to be respected than to be loved.