Tag Archives: professional development

When it’s not possible (or right) to be nice

Sometimes I hate my job. Usually it’s when I have to tell someone their story is not good enough or their effort is sub-par or I think they’re being sloppy or lazy — or both.

What gives me the right? I’m far from perfect, so how can I expect so much others?

Because it’s my job. An an editor and a boss, it’s my responsibility to demand the best from people — to push them, to make them grow, to force them to dig deep inside themselves to keep getting better. Because otherwise, what’s the point?

Stagnation is a slow death — for a career, for a relationship, for anything that matters. The only exciting dynamic for work, and life, is growth.

So sometimes I have to say something I don’t want to say to people who don’t want to hear it. It twists around in my head and my heart. It gives me an upset stomach and a shaky voice. Sometimes my words don’t come out quite right.

And sometimes I avoid it like the plague.

But when I do that, I’m not just denying my own responsibility. I’m denying the other person a chance to evolve. To be better. To feel better about themselves and their effort. Or to accept the ways they’re lacking and move in a different direction.

It’s not fun. I don’t like this responsibility and I don’t enjoy it. But I’m rarely sorry when I summon the courage to exercise it.

Because most of the time, despite my greatest fears otherwise, the person I have most feared talking to, or writing a critique for, responds in the best possible way: by meeting the challenge, making a better effort and embracing the gift of personal or professional development.

And sometimes, in the midst of these difficult conversations, they share insights that help me grow, too.