Stop Being So Afraid Of Offending Someone

by Keefe Tang

Not too long ago my boss asked me to stop using a read receipt on emails I send out to people in the organization. It was not a big deal and I only enabled it when I stumble upon the option in Outlook so I obliged. I later found out that someone was not comfortable replying the read receipt to my emails and asked my boss to ask me to stop.

What is interesting to me is that this person had to relay that message through my boss. A trivial message that for some reason this person feels he could not just let me know personally, most likely to avoid the possibility of offending me. And I could’t be more frustrated.

We live in a world where everyone is too afraid to offend anyone. Especially in the workplace where “professionalism” is expected from you; if you expect to go anywhere in the organization of course. Suffice to say this practice is beyond ridiculous in my opinion and wastes everyone’s time.

We spend too much time tiptoeing around what we say to co-exist with people instead of confronting the problem and learning to criticise constructively. When someone does something you don’t like, speak to them immediately, face to face, in private. Hiding behind someone else’s boss is just cowardly and no one can take you seriously if you constantly do that. Communication is the cornerstone to progress, without it we aren’t going to get anywhere.

Many great leaders we know like Steve Jobs was never afraid to offend people not because they enjoy offending people but because they weren’t afraid to speak their mind when they believe they are right. Remember this, just because someone is offended it doesn’t mean they are right.