This post is excerpted from the Mind Tools website
Respond intelligently, even to unintelligent treatment. – Lao-Tzu, Chinese philosopher
One of your brightest team members, Jon, has just finished giving a presentation. He seems pleased with his performance, but it’s obvious that he wasn’t properly prepared. His presentation was poorly researched and badly organized, and you’re disappointed by his lack of effort.
Before everyone has left the conference room, Jon asks for your feedback. You tell him that his presentation was sloppy and disorganized, and that you had expected better from him.
Unsurprisingly, Jon is visibly upset, and you immediately regret your comments. You wanted to be honest, but you didn’t want to hurt his feelings, especially in front of other people. A month later, Jon hands in his resignation.
We all have to communicate painful or sensitive information at some point in our careers. And, while it’s important to tell the truth, we need to think about how we do it. Tact allows us to be honest, while respecting a person’s feelings.
When we communicate tactfully, we can preserve relationships, build credibility, and demonstrate thoughtfulness. In this article, we’ll examine what tact is, and we’ll look at how you can develop this important quality.
What is Tact?
Tact is the ability to tell the truth in a way that considers other people’s feelings and reactions. It allows you to give difficult feedback, communicate sensitive information, and say the right thing to preserve a relationship.
Why is Tact Important?
The ability to communicate with sensitivity offers many benefits.
First, tact is important when you have to deliver bad news or provide critical feedback, whether in personal or professional situations.
Next, communicating tactfully strengthens your reputation and builds your credibility . It allows you to preserve existing relationships and build new ones. A tactful approach shows character , maturity, professionalism , and integrity .
Tact also demonstrates good manners . If you can communicate with grace and consideration, you’ll stand out from the crowd, and you’ll get noticed for the right reasons. This can lead to career opportunities.
Finally, tact can help you to avoid conflict, find common ground, and allow others to save face. It can therefore be an important asset in negotiations and in conflict resolution.
– See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/tactful.htm?utm_source=nl&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=04Feb14#np