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Be Direct, Not A Jerk
By Bill Marklein


A healthy, thriving workplace culture is the result of people speaking up to share their ideas, thoughts and concerns. Direct communication is how teams and all relationships flourish. However, like most things in life, there is a fine line—a balancing act. On one end, an impulsive direct comment can lead to being a jerk. On the other end, a passive-aggressive comment can lead to being a coward. The goal is to find the middle of the two—the sweet spot of the curve. Employ Humanity coined this zone Controlled Directness. This simple concept is a gamechanger for building healthy, trusting relationships and teams.





Controlled Directness is centered in emotional intelligence and the ability to speak up with the important skill to have self-awareness, kindness and empathy within the direct communication. Direct communication needs to be celebrated in any organization. Direct communication gets to the point and saves time, money and misinterpretation. You can’t expect behavior change without controlled directness. But that doesn’t mean people are able to recklessly communicate as a jerk and camouflage it as being direct—this can quickly deteriorate relationships and culture. Passive-aggressive communication is being a jerk too—when you express negative feelings indirectly instead of openly talking about them with those that need to hear the feedback. No one is a mind reader and this is an absurd assumption unfortunately present in too many professional and personal relationships. We need to get people in the Controlled Directness zone to have inspiring conversations, challenging conversations, open conversations that bring creativity, innovation and change for the better. Controlled Directness demonstrates kind candor that we can all appreciate.

About the Author: Bill Marklein is a sought-after keynote speaker in the space of leadership, culture and emotional intelligence and invites you to Employ Humanity Leadership Day 2024 in Milwaukee at the iconic Harley-Davidson Museum. If you liked this article, please give it a share. 

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