Here are a couple of intertwining thoughts from two different books I’ve been reading. In Safe People (by Cloud and Townsend) the authors write: “An important question to ask (when discerning if a person is safe or unsafe) is: what does this person do with my no?”
Saying yes and no (being truthful), and how people respond to that, is a theme that keeps showing up in a number of places.
In The Bottom of the 33rd, Joe Morgan (no not that Joe Morgan) is the manager of the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox. As a AAA (closest minor league level to the major leagues) manager Morgan saw a lot of guys who went on to play in bigs, but he also saw a lot of guys who were good but not quite good enough.
These not quite good enough players would hang around and hang around hoping against hope for their break. At some point they would come to Joe and ask: “What do you think, skip? Am I going to make it?”
And Joe Morgan was honest with them. He told them the truth. Sometimes that was a really hard, even brutal, assignment. But, and here’s our quote of the week:
“Morgan never wanted to be complicit in another man’s delusions. He felt morally required to provide either encouragement or release. To say yes or no.”
He wasn’t a jerk about it. He didn’t take delight in crushing a man’s dreams. But he didn’t lie to them either. This is a hard lesson of leadership, but, as I am learning, it is important to tell the truth.