Many of us have struggled at some point in our careers or our lives with the age-old dilemma…is it more important to be right or to be kind?
By nature, I consider myself a “nice” person. While I tell the truth, it’s often softened. I tend to sugarcoat if someone’s feelings are at stake, whether friends and family, or as I’ve recently realized, even clients. While it is “nice” to be kind, and I don’t pride myself on being right, I’ve learned firsthand that I may be doing a disservice to others. I’ve also discovered there’s a difference between wanting to be right and wanting to do right.
Often times I have an opinion – even a strong one perhaps. But, I am very careful to avoid hurt egos. In life, perhaps being kind is better than being right. In business, however, we have a job to do. And that may mean setting aside our personalities – our very nature – to do what is in the best interest of others. Customers and clients come first. That could mean providing the bitter truth, even when it’s difficult.
Is a business idea not a good one? Is a suggested approach not recommended? Is there a miss that perhaps you’ve shared but haven’t pushed on? I say this both to myself and to you: Speak up. You were brought in to a project or a role for a reason. If you have knowledge or expertise, use it. Don’t stay quiet, or shield your opinion for fear of alienation. Ultimately it will be both to the detriment of the business and the relationship.
I’ve worked with many startup companies over the years. Unfortunately I’ve seen my share of those that fail. Sometimes it’s lack of funding, but more often, it’s lack of direction. A leader may have the idea, but they need a strategic point person to successfully implement. If that’s not what you were brought in for, but you’re capable of it, don’t sell yourself or the company short.
In my case, I provide marketing services…growth. But, without a solid business plan – a strategy – there’s nothing to grow. I tout marketing strategy as a strength, and that’s true, but a marketing strategy can only be implemented if there’s a brand to promote. I understand business. I’ve worked in and with many. I’ve learned legal structures and financial underpinnings, I know ROIs and CPAs. I’ve seen that without a clear and short-term path to revenue, success is nearly impossible.
So consider, what are your strengths and what are you offering up? Don’t just do what you were brought in for. Do more. Give everything you are capable of and you – and the businesses you work with – will thrive. And luckily you don’t have to choose…you can still be kind, too.