If you are a manager of others, one of your most important tasks is to provide feedback to those who report to you, and help them become more effective employees – and usually happier in the end too. Most managers are never given training on this, and wind up either aligning at one of the extremes. Either being ‘brutally honest’ or unwilling to deliver the hard, but needed, messages.
Honest and effective feedback is crucial to becoming our best. Rather than moving towards the extremes, managers need to find their own way, but be willing to deliver difficult messages, while showing respect for those on the receiving end. You will be helping them on to more productive careers and netting yourself a better coworker. On a more Machiavellian note, being too ‘nice’ to deliver hard messages limits your earning as well. Those who are able to make unpopular decisions make more money in their careers, though I bet those who leave carnage in their wake don’t do as well as those who take more care to deliver it in a balanced way.