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How to tell the truth ... graciously.

Most of us tell white lies in an effort to spare the feelings of others, to avoid confrontation or to sidestep convenience. But it is possible to tell the truth, even when it's not a pleasant truth, without damaging relationships.

Author Dave Anderson advises taking a "tough love" approach if you have to communicate something your client or employee might not want to hear. "If you look up 'tough love' in the dictionary, it says 'toughness balanced with warmth,' " he says. "If you say what you have to say with warmth, concern and respect, it makes a big difference."

Of course, it's not always easy to get that combination right. "Today, people skills are so diminished because we're used to communicating through email and text," Anderson says. It's important not to be in such a hurry to cut to the chase that you come across as rude or uncaring.

So next time you have to tell that eager staffer he didn't get the raise he asked for, instead of avoiding him and telling him you haven't made a decision yet, just tell the truth. And if you failed to meet the deadline on that project for your client, don't tell her the software you needed was on backorder. Be honest and admit you overestimated how quickly you could make the turnaround. People appreciate straightforwardness. "Even though telling the truth is often the hard and unpopular thing to do," Anderson says, "honesty is rule number one to developing sound character."

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Publication:Success
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2012
Words:251
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