Some people have the courage to speak the truth no matter what
• They bluntly say what they believe needs to be said
• They say things like:
• “If they can’t handle the truth, that’s their problem.”
• “Somebody has to speak the truth.”
• “I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to solve problems.”

Other people are so compassionate they tend to avoid conflict at almost any cost
• They believe that relationships are the key to productivity and work diligently to protect relationships.
• They say things like:
• “Choose your battles.”
• “The most important consideration is keeping the relationship strong.”
• “Don’t bring that up. It will just set her off.”

Both are right…and wrong.

Great communicators balance the virtues of courage and compassion
• They are courageous enough to speak the truth even when others will get upset or when they may face consequences for speaking up.
• They recognize how they speak is as important as speaking the truth.
• Great communicators know that where, when and how they speak the truth can have a great impact on whether the other person will defend themselves, shut down or engage in a dialogue.

Courage without compassion is cruelty.
Compassion without courage is hypocrisy.

Most of us need to work on one communication strength or the other
Does courageous or compassionate best describe your communication style?
• If you are too one-sided on courage, people won’t engage with you and may not tell you the truth out of fear. They will view your comments as cruel not truthful.
• If you are too one-sided on compassion, the difficult but important conversations won’t happen and your team won’t achieve great success. If you believe something strongly but are afraid to bring it up you are a hypocrite.

If your communication strength is courage, temper it with compassion. If your communication strength is compassion, have the courage to speak difficult truths. Courage and compassion are both necessary to have impactful conversations that enable breakthrough on critical challenges.