At last week’s HR West conference, I had the pleasure of graphically recording a keynote by trainer and consultant Shari Harley. Her company name is Candid Culture, and she talked about the need to choose candor over comfort in our communications.

People can’t meet our expectations or needs if we don’t tell them what they are, clearly and specifically. DUH! But too frequently we hedge, we hem and haw, we don’t say what we really mean in an attempt to be “nice” or to avoid an unpleasant reaction. Shari stresses that our problem isn’t generally that we don’t know WHAT we need to say, it’s that we usually feel that we don’t have PERMISSION to be truthful. She offered scripts for talking with your coworker or manager or employees about how to talk with each other. Asking questions up front about how someone likes to receive feedback, and letting them know what works best for you, sets the stage for more effective and efficient conversation going forward

When I am training or coaching a group to communicate more clearly in conflict, invariably someone objects or refuses to participate because it is not comfortable.


Trying something new is generally not comfortable.  Trying to communicate in a different way is not comfortable. Finally digging in and dealing with hard stuff is not comfortable.

If every member of my client group is comfortable throughout our work together, I did NOT do my job right.