“Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy” Issac Newton.
“Diplomacy is the art of letting somebody else have your way” David Frost
In all my career spanning three decades that I worked with several good companies and worked with several great leaders, one behavior that was common to all good leaders was that they possessed the skill of Tact & Diplomacy. I have also seen those that are great business leaders, absolutely focused on their goals, but lack the skill of tact & Diplomacy. With their aggressive styles, they successfully meet their business objectives, but not before leaving a trail of dead bodies behind them. They are ruthless and ruthless to the point that they create a toxic work environment. They are star performers, but jerks.
During conference calls and meetings, such leaders tend to listen less to what the presenter is saying but are waiting to jump on the person’s face and prove to the person how wrong he or she is. They would often interrupt with pointed questions Such questions can be really unnerving to the person presenting and can leave the person presenting doubt their own credibility and damage the person’s confidence. They lack emotional intelligence and therefore do not understand the negative impact their behaviors can cause to the individuals, teams and therefore to the organization
But then there are others, who are also aggressive, are individualistic, but who have great listening skills, have the tact and diplomacy to steer the conversation and are assertive and can, therefore, influence the presenter and the audience.
There would be no scars, no enemies, but they would make their point and get away with it. In the process, they would build and maintain their relationships. They tend to motivate the individuals and teams to speak.
Tact and diplomacy can be very powerful tools not just at work, but in our day to day life as well.
The first personality type referred above is the most difficult to deal with. Can they be coached to be more tactful and diplomatic?