Never underestimate the value of being honest — deeply honest — when you’re working as part of a team.
Learning to express what you’re thinking in a truthful but respectful way is a foundational skill for people who work with others to bring cool stuff to life. Which I believe means pretty much all of us. Too little honesty and you’ll have a pleasant working atmosphere but end up shipping something mediocre or just plain wrong; too much honesty and you won’t ship anything at all, because the team will dissolve before your very eyes. Being honest without coming across as a blunt jerk will win you friends, help you ship amazing things, and probably get you promoted, too. We can all get better at this — it’s a life journey kind of thing.
How dear to my heart, then, is this amazingly disarming statement coined by the late Harry Weathersby Stamps, who was a professor at Gulf Coast Community College. It’s meant to be lobbed when you need your audience to be absolutely clear that you are about to speak from the heart:
“I am not running for political office or trying to get married”
Is that amazing, or what? Try it out in your next project status review session, and let me know how it goes.
Harry Weathersby Stamps, pictured above, passed away this past Saturday. It’s well worth your while to read his charming obituary, which is American prose at its best.