How many times have you not held your peer accountable in an effort to be “nice” because you didn’t want to hurt his/her feelings?”

How many times did you then go ahead and do the work yourself? Meanwhile making assumptions as to why they didn’t do the work.

And then how many times did it take before you began to feel resentful?

And then how many times did you then begin to make comments about said person’s inability to do his/her work (under your breath, to your spouse, co-workers, supervisor)?

And yet s/he never had the chance to correct his/her behavior because you didn’t speak up. And you never asked why. All in the name of being nice. I’m all about thoughtfulness. And yet this is unkind niceness. Underneath which lies a fear of not being liked.

We often think people won’t like us if we hold them accountable.

The irony is most of us want to be known/seen/understood/appreciated. Holding someone accountable tells them you value their contribution – that their work makes a difference. If they don’t do their work, or don’t do it well, it matters. They matter.

Of course, hold someone accountable with candid tenderness, not with shame. Come from a place of curiosity – “Peter, you’re often late with getting your piece of the puzzle completed. This backs up the entire team. Can you help me understand why you’re often late? And what you can do to break this habit?”

When you’re truly committed to someone else’s success, hold them accountable. Help them be the best they can be by kindly communicating when something is amiss. Be real, be direct and speak to your experience while being curious about why there’s a disconnect between your experience and the work commitments/agreements/expectations.

And remember, to not say anything, to sit quietly by and watch as this individual’s work credibility deteriorates is unkind. It’s not nice.