Tact is this week’s Leadership Trait for our 14 week “Leader in Every Locker,” Program. Tact is the ability to deal with others in a manner that will maintain good relations, avoid offense, and yet convey the concept, idea, or point germane to the circumstance. More simply stated, tact is the ability to say and do the right thing at the right time in consideration of the effects of one’s words and body language. Tact allows commentary, guidance, and opinions to be expressed in a constructive and beneficial manner. This deference should be extended under all conditions regardless of personal feelings.
As we have noted in other Blog Posts, Victor Frankl, Holocaust survivor, author, and psychologist notes, “there is a space between stimulus and response where we find character, and choose how we will react.” Though sometimes far easier to describe than to do, dialing back emotions, and using tact is an essential communications skill.
A player may find him or herself frustrated by the unsportsmanlike play of an opponent. Rather than retaliation, the player should ask his team Captain to address the concern with the official and request additional oversight on the next play. Similarly, despite the frustration with the outcome of a grade on a test, a student should ask his/her teacher for some time to speak privately after class. During the subsequent meeting the student can express their genuine desire to understand the material, walk through the problem with the teacher, and ask for clarification on the steps to uncover the error.
At a time in our history where many seem all too quick to jump to conclusions, attack with name calling and argue in headlines and soundbites, a little patience and tact has the potential to go a long way both on and off the field. As Isaac Newton said, “Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.”
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!