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  • Writer's pictureJenni Schierman


Have you ever avoided giving bad news to someone because you knew they were having a hard time in other areas of their life and you didn’t want to add to it? So, you simply didn’t say anything even though it might have been important?

This might have been done out of consideration for their best interests but what you are actually doing is “fragilizing” them. Fragilizing is where you assume the other person is not equipped to handle a situation and will crumble or “break” if they are given too much to handle.

The reality is that this is not your judgement to make and this behavior can lead to personal and professional issues for both the employee and leader.

Have you found yourself in this type of a scenario in the past either in your personal or professional life? Let’s look at some potential options to avoid this if it comes up in the future.


1. Be Direct – We all appreciate directness when we need to be confronted about something. Whether it is a personal or professional conversation you can benefit from being direct in your approach. Don’t wait for days to find the “perfect moment”. Create a time that works and have the conversation before too much anxiety builds up for you. The other person will appreciate you being direct and honest. Sharing honesty is a sign of respect.

2. Embrace Confrontation – Healthy confrontation takes some practice, but it can improve the culture of your organization and your relationships. Learning to be open and clear in your communication, not becoming defensive, and listening to understand the other person’s point of view can go a long way in reducing your feeling of fragilizing others.

3. Let Them Lead – If you are in a leadership position and you frequently find yourself having a hard time letting your direct reports take the lead, perhaps it is time to loosen the reigns a bit. Allowing others to have a bit more ownership conveys confidence in their ability, and it also requires you to trust that they will do what you have asked. Both are important in communicating you believe they are capable.


If these are concepts you struggle with, you are not alone. Many people want to look out for others but at the same time don’t realize they may be doing harm. It is important to understand that people want to be able to do things for themselves.

If you are interested in discussing this further, I’m happy to have a conversation. I offer a complimentary initial call to all potential clients. Click here to schedule yours today!

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