Is hurting someone's feelings inevitable? Perhaps, sometimes, no matter what we as leaders do we will somehow hurt someone's feelings. But, if that happens as an accident or as the result of someone else's low self-esteem at least we didn't intend it. Most of us have known leaders who DO intend it.
Leaders who play with people's feelings are playing with fire. It may feel like a fine way to manipulate someone into giving you something you want, but there is a heavy cost. The relationship takes some bumps and, often, the bounce-back reverberation (some might call it karma) is big. Very big.
Being careful about other people's feelings is in the end also taking care of your own. Hurt feelings seek revenge. Why bring that about?
We never escape unscaved when we hurt someone's feelings.
What to do instead? Talk about it. Listen with curiosity. Show social courtesy and compassion. It's better for your relationships -- and therefore also better for you.
-- doug smith