If anyone has told you “You are direct,” do you believe that is a good thing or a bad thing? The reality, of course, is that being direct is neither good nor bad, but rather depends upon your level of self-awareness and awareness of the situation in which you are communicating.

Maybe you’ve been frustrated sometimes when people don’t get to the point or take too long in making a decision. That frustration usually comes from operating with a sense of urgency and trying to be as productive as possible. Although there is nothing wrong with that, the behavior will typically come across as impatient and will NOT encourage colleagues and team members to make a decision faster. It can actually result in deteriorating trust or respect, a loss of time and productivity.

When you slow down and recognize the preferences of others and their decision-making tendencies, you can change your approach and get a much better result. Provide enough time for them to “think” it through, even though that’s not something you need.

To recognize when to be direct and when to slow down or hold back requires developing awareness of not only our tendencies, but also the awareness of ourselves in relation to others, including the people we work with, live with, and our friends and family. This level of awareness enables us to adapt to the needs of others and build more trust and respect in the process. 

We tend to be more or less direct based upon our Behavior Style.

Here are some advantages and challenges of being direct:


When to be Direct


Here are some advantages and challenges of being indirect:


When to be indirect


Building self-awareness and understanding Behavior Styles allows leaders and team members to strike a balance between being direct and indirect, adapting their communication style to the specific needs of the situation and the people involved. Understanding how people are different (behavior styles) is the foundation of emotional intelligence, and critically important to elevate team and individual performance.

Sharon Andrade has been leading and transforming teams for over 30 years.  She is an engaging facilitator and consultant focused on elevating individuals and teams wholly through performance improvement and personal growth. 

Read more about Sharon here.