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People #12: How you manage directness and tactfulness when communicating with others

Tips of the day!

To build cooperative relationships with others, you have to be respectful and keep their self-esteem in mind. Yet, be authentic in your communications. Tend to be forthright, stating what you think in a direct but tactful manner. It is important to communicate clearly, so others easily get what you want to say.

Theme of the day

The central theme in this blog is “how to manage tactfulness and directness in your communication with others”.

Organizational success depends on excellent communication and teamwork. Each person in the organization is closest to his/her function, objectives, and responsibilities. However, individual goals need to be coordinated and focused on corporate objectives. Conclusion, communication, and teamwork are essential.

Let us consider the following situation:

Your management decided within the context of digital transformation to develop a business-critical software application. They are convinced that incorporating security into the software development cycle results in much better integration of development, operations, and security. You are lucky because your organization prioritized security and incentivized all stakeholders to share responsibility for it. As a security team lead, even in teleworking times, you need to be an excellent communicator and partner to the rest of the business, enabling development and operations to establish thorough DevSecOps practices.

Strong communicators manage directness and tactfulness when communicating with others. Their authentic and respectful approach to communication fosters better working relationships and integration of development, operations, and security in DevOps.

People who are strong in frankness and weak in diplomacy will see themselves as truthful and will consider diplomacy as untruthful. Other people will consider them blunt. When feeling uncomfortable or vulnerable, they may use frankness to divert attention from themselves.

People who are strong in diplomacy and weak in frankness will see themselves as being able to control difficult situations without upsetting anyone. Other people will see them as deceptive. By withholding feedback, others could miss the opportunity to know how they could work with you more effectively.

If you are in one of the last two situations, you can begin to understand the negative consequences of your imbalance in communication and start to develop a balanced approach to communication.

Ask yourself

To develop a balanced approach to communication, go through the following processes. Contextualize and put them into the perspective of your current role as a security professional.

  • Process ‘Improve the interaction’

If you tend to state things in a very frank and straightforward manner, without the necessary diplomacy, the next process can help you to become a better communicator.

  • Make a list of the most important people that you interact with within the context of the incorporation of security into the software development cycle;
  • What specific DevSecOps related communications have you withheld from <person>?
  • What do you like about <name> and what contribution does he/she make to DevSecOps?
  • What do you want from <name>?
  • What have you done that may have hindered the quality of the interaction with <name>?
  • What could you do to improve the interaction with <name>?
  • What could you say to <name> to help improve the interaction? State exactly what you would say to <name>. Make sure you state it in a frank and tactful manner.
  • Communicate with <name>.

Take away! Good teamwork, especially within DevSecOps, requires direct and diplomatic communications.

  • Proces ‘Resolving difficulties as a result of a lack of diplomacy in the past’

If you lack tact and your communication style is direct, follow the next process:

  • Who are the important DevSecOps people with whom you interact at work?
  • In what ways has your diplomacy been lacking with <name>?
  • Ask each person on the list if there is anything you have said to him/her that lacked diplomacy and is probably hindering the integration of security in the software development cycle.
  • Try to put yourself in the person’s shoes and acknowledge how that must have felt. Apologize to each person.
  • Ask each person to tell you when you say something that lacks diplomacy.

Take away! By being diplomatic, communications flow more easily through the DevSecOps communication loop.

Suggestion! The right attitude

  • Take the initiative to communicate and collaborate to improve efficiency;
  • Have a positive attitude and listen with an open mind;
  • Don’t take things personally and be receptive to feedback;
  • Inquire to ensure that your communication is received by being straightforward while also being respectful;
  • Communicate clearly and logically while also being sensitive to others.


The central theme of my next blog is about how you approach trying new things and overcoming obstacles.



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