Honesty is one of the most important quality a person might have and I think that being honest in working with others is the key for a wonderful life. Honesty is taught by example. And it should be used in the best interest of the people we are working with.
This morning, while I was talking to a supervisor of a project I am involved in about an email exchange between me and a colleague- that I will call Mr. X for the purpose of this post- this person has judged the way I answered to Mr. X “a little bit harsh.” Probably it is true from his point of view: he doesn’t know the background story and the purposes I had. There is a fine distinction between being honest and being harsh. Honesty has a good purpose in mind. I do not consider that answer I gave harsh- in the sense of cruel- at all, otherwise I would not have written what I have written. The truth is that that message wasn’t written on impulse, but has been meditated, corrected and revised so that it would serve to Mr. X as an opportunity to grow and to understand how to work.
First of all, Mr. X has no experience in whatsoever and therefore must be guided. Not his fault, but his background limits his view. The problem is that he does not accept the guidance of colleagues. What did Mr. X do? Believing that he has all the basic knowledge, Mr. X began to make decisions and projects over our project on his own. To a polite request if he had fulfilled his tasks, he did not even bothered to answer. He didn’t even answered when I requested his availability for meetings! No reply.
As I decided to remind him about the obligations we had towards other people and that at least it would be nice to know that he is still alive, Mr. X was not happy.
So he wrote a whole papyrus practically trying to insult me by underlining words to be understood offensively with italics. I have not read the whole email. Why should I spend my time reading things I don’t need to? Its sole intent was to try to offend me without using offensive words. I am not offended yet as I wasn’t before. Everybody should have a chance to learn.
My answer – in a short way and after many evaluations and thoughts- was an explanation of the time frame for the project and of the importance of respecting that time frame. I added that I had only asked when he would have been available and it would have been enough to give me a brief answer with time and dates and not with a 244 words long papyrus .
Now, my answer today has been considered “harsh” from a third person. Points of view. I see it as calm and polite. It is a honest answer from a person who has not taken the provocative bait of Mr. X’s email. Am I harsh or honest? Point of views. I think it would have been harsh if I would have answered in italics as well. I gave him a chance to learn, while being honest about my expectations.
With the words of Leonardo Sciascia: “A ciascuno il suo.”