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Risk Truth

9 January 2018

Allison read When the Truth Is Your Only Chance by Peter Bregman on the HBR Blog Network (again) and remembered that this really is one of her favorite articles when she's trying to help clients figure out how to deliver difficult feedback.

Tags: allison read, communication, courage, thoughtful candor

As 2018 gets underway, I've found myself trying to help many of my clients decide how to deliver very difficult feedback. This really isn't any different than what I helped them with in 2017. However, for some reason more people than usual seem to to be trying to figure out how to do what Peter Bregman calls "risking truth." They want to say something that feels big and scary to someone who is significant in their lives. This week, I searched for some new articles to help myself and others with this challenge, but I discovered that Bregman's post, When the Truth Is Your Only Chance, is still one of my favorites. (I first blogged about it on 3 December 2013). I think this post can help you to find both the courage you need and gives you a practical approach for sharing truth in a constructive way.

My one caveat to Bregman's approach is that sometimes in these situations it can be constructive to say nothing and wait to see how things unfold. There may be ways you can influence the situation positively, but indirectly. There may be other people who are in a better position to speak the truth. It may feel too dangerous to say something now, but could feel safer later. Doing nothing and waiting patiently until the time is right to risk truth can be a responsible decision. In addition, it can be appropriate to let go because there's nothing you can do about the situation directly, but you can improve the situation in other ways and through other relationships. However, if you've reached the point where you feel you must say something, I think Bregman's post will help.



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