“You are about to receive the gift of honest feedback.” ~ Unknown (on office desk plaques everywhere)
I have a friend that makes people uncomfortable. She makes them uncomfortable because she will never allow racist, sexist, homophobic or unjust comments or actions just be. She can’t. It’s innate in her and I absolutely love her for it. She will call you out no matter where you’re at, no matter the context.
It also means that she’s not always the most popular person in the room. It means that she does make people uncomfortable, because she holds people accountable for their actions. There’s a reason we get along. I fully believe that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke) and it’s just not within my nature to not act on the side of what I perceive as justice.
At work, I’ve been calling myself an Elephant Hunter for years now, which usually means that my colleagues love me and my bosses, ummm, sometimes not so much, and I’m way okay with that too. I hold leaders accountable for their actions, or lack thereof. I ask the direct questions, put the elephant on the table. I realize that that too makes people uncomfortable. People don’t like to feel uncomfortable.
But you see, my job is not to make you feel better about your mediocrity or your soundbite or trite idea. Nor is it my job to allow horrible things be said or done without being a witness to it and saying that “that’s not okay.” My job is to challenge you, ask you questions and hold you accountable for your output. That’s my job because I’m your reader, your colleague, your audience and we are part of one another’s collective.
When there’s dialogue there are two things that occur. Either a) I determine that you’re totally full of shit and I decide to not waste my energies on engaging or supporting you or b) I find out that you’re an authentic, open soul whose idea, thought or expression comes from that same intent and regardless of whether or not I agree with you, I will engage you and unfailingly support you.
It’s the same approach I took to my last blog post about the team of @strombo deleting my comments when I attempted a dialogue with them publicly on their Fan Page on Facebook.
Now, for the record, I’m not under any delusions of grandeur and don’t equate Team @strombo deleting my comments as being akin to spouting off racist, sexist, homophobic vitriol, nor do I think that my comments were that important either.
What I can’t abide is manipulation, inflated senses of import and people failing to provide even the base amount of effort to ensure that a wrong hasn’t been committed. That crap just rankles me to the core.
I had nothing to gain from posting my last blog (do you see any ads on this page?) except to generate a dialogue. I was merely providing that gift of honest feedback both to George and his team and apparently, that resonated with a number of bloggers and other readers.
So, Team @strombo decided what they’ll do with that feedback and I decided that they fell under my a) category. And that makes them feel uncomfortable. I get it.
So, you see that elephant there in the middle of the room? Why don’t you join me in grabbing a fork and knife and let’s eat that elephant.