In criticizing an employee’s work, a skilled manager will come close enough to being explicit so that his employee understands the issue, but not so close as to cause defensiveness.
“Are brute integrity and explicit communication worth the price of the listener’s goodwill, open-mindedness, and receptivity to change?”
Example: From a large survey of manager attitudes in high performance Japanese companies.
Source: Pascale, R.T. (1978). Communication and decision making across cultures: Japanese and American comparisons. Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 91-110.