Building Credibility and Professionalism through Mastering Tact and Diplomacy

Are you regularly hurting other people’s feelings?

Struggling to get others to accept your feedback?

Frustrated that you aren’t getting what you want?

Don’t have the influence that you want?

You are right, why won’t anyone listen?

If any of this sounds like you, you may need to build your skill at tact and diplomacy. It is one of the key aspects on the road to building the Influence competency. Within this domain of Building Rapport, Politeness, Active Listening, Assertiveness, Developing Trust, Empathy, Emotional Intelligence, and Negotiating – Tact and Diplomacy leans and builds on these competencies.

Let’s face it, how you communicate can make or break your career. It affects your relationships at work, out in the world, and with friends and loved ones. Husbands, wives, partners, kids, parents, neighbors, everyone. It’s how we connect, and it matters.

If we are taking the time to communicate with another, and to provide feedback, then the goal should be to connect. Connection is a two-way street. And, to do that means we need to consider other people’s points of view.

Typically, those with opportunities with tact and diplomacy rate high for personally getting things done, moving forward regardless of resistance, and unapologetically saying what they think . They may have a reputation for being blunt, saying it how it is, or even being abrasive, rude or aggressive. Others may still follow their intimidating approach and do as told but the interpersonal cost is very high.

By developing tact and diplomacy you still tell the truth, provide feedback, and get things done. By choosing your words and ensuring they are carefully selected for the person and situation after considering their feelings and reaction – you will get more done while maintaining and possibly strengthening the relationship.

Those who display a high degree of tact and diplomacy can treat others fairly, regardless of personal biases or beliefs, and can communicate in a truthful, clear manner while tailoring that conversation to the individual in a sensitive and effective way.

Developing Tact

  • Create the right environment
  • Determine the appropriate time
  • Think before you speak
  • Choose your words carefully
  • Body language must match what you are saying
  • Never react emotionally

The more we become interconnected in this world, where we are working and interact with increasingly diverse and unique people, we must build our skills with tact and diplomacy in order to maintain positive relationships with others.

There is little in this world that we accomplish on our own. And our ability to interact with others is one of the biggest factors in accomplishing what we want to with our time.

This means considering others communication style, their feelings, and their possible reaction.

This does not mean shying away from the conversation because of how someone will respond. It is about tailoring the words used and the conversation to the person and situation to get the best outcome. It does little good to provide feedback, if the feedback provided is done poorly and increases the chances that the information didn’t get through.

When giving feedback

  • Keep focused on what you want to achieve
  • Be explicit factually: be precise
  • Remember your desired outcome
  • Step back from emotions
  • Find common ground
  • Two-Way conversation

If we are taking the time to communicate with another, and to provide feedback, then the goal should be to connect. Connection is a two-way street. And to do that means we have to consider other people’s points of view.

Being sensitive and direct by showing emotional sensitivity to others and considering others point of view, feelings and reactions preserves the relationship by demonstrating thoughtfulness and builds credibility.

Tact and Diplomacy builds your professional character by demonstrating maturity, shows integrity, good manners, and sound judgement as a considerate person who leads with finesse and grace, and one who has acceptance and respect for diversity.

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