Iron Fist in a Velvet Glove
Have you ever heard that phrase before? It was new to me until the day I had to deliver some bad news on an audit. The auditee said that I had an “iron fist in a velvet glove,” meaning that I delivered a hard punch, with not much comfort, since velvet wouldn’t soften the blow of an iron fist very well. In my innocence, and to some degree of arrogance, at first I took it as a compliment! Then I got to thinking about what he said.
How we deliver truth is just as important as the truth itself. For how it lands with someone dictates the degree of acceptance. If you come across as unfeeling, uncaring, but right, what good does it do you if what you say falls on deaf ears; especially when the person being communicated with doesn’t want to deal with the stark reality of the truth being expressed? In my example, it was good for me that the auditee had tough skin and could take what I had to say. He dealt with the truth based upon the merits of my argument, and not the reality of the way it was delivered. The irony of it all is that the auditee used tact to communicate a difficult truth to me, about me. That was a tough pill to swallow. It would have been nice had I treated him with the same amount of respect.
Until the past few years, tact has eluded me my entire life. It wasn’t until I started exploring the virtues, embracing the virtues, and practicing the virtues, that tact has found a welcomed home within my spirit. Virtuous living has a way of changing you for the better. So, now, rather than beating people over the head with the plain truth, I find ways to communicate it in a softer, more encouraging manner. I use tact to inform people “what’s in it for them” to face truth. I act with kindness, remembering that at times it is better to be kind than to be right. I have learned that you can say what needs to be said and not be vitriol; but rather virtuous.
We have now covered all of the virtues from a basics perspective. I have defined all of the virtues, explained why it’s important to embrace them, and how to practice them. All of that is now in the archives accessible on the right sidebar. It’s time for us to kick it up a notch and make some changes. Come back for our next reflection, and I’ll tell you where we will be traveling next on the road of virtues. Don’t miss it!