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Straightforwardness - comfortably sharing different views

RocheMartin defines Emotional Intelligence by a set of 10 competencies and this is one in a series of blogs covering each one: Why develop Straightforwardness, what is it exactly and how can you develop it?

Why develop Straightforwardness?


It means you are comfortable with the fact that everyone is different and can communicate your position calmly and clearly

Developing this competency is part of the group that determines how we interact with people so it's great for your relationships and therefore important for your home life, for leadership, for all your work relationships and for effective teamwork.

Having straightforwardness means

  • you know what you think, feel and believe and are able to express that in a calm, clear, open and authentic way, rather than

    • passively defaulting to what someone else thinks through fear of conflict or judgement or

    • being aggressive, trying to dominate or take control to prove you are right.

  • you are respectful and considerate of the other person's perspective, recognising that, just like you, they are likely to think that their idea, opinion or choice is the most logical.

  • you seek to get buy-in for your ideas, recognising that people are driven by what is important to them, rather than expecting them to be excited by what is important to you.

  • you can see different sides of an argument so 'conflict' is just an expression of different views for you and not something that needs to be avoided.

  • you recognise that not everyone communicates the same way as you do.

  • you are able to provide clear directions and expectations.

  • you are comfortable challenging others' views, giving clear feedback in a respectful way and saying no when you need to!

If you imagine being in a relationship or working with someone who demonstrates the opposite of those points, you'll quickly understand why straightforwardness is important!

What is Straightforwardness exactly?

Straightforwardness is acknowledging that others may think differently from you and being able to calmly and clearly explain your perspective

As with all the RocheMartin emotional intelligence competencies, Straightforwardness can be broken down into 3 components, which help to pinpoint areas of strength and areas for development.

The 3 components of Straightforwardness are


Self-Control is a competency in its own right and means that you can control your emotions so they don't impact how you will think, listen or communicate.

When it comes to straightforwardness and how you communicate, it also means recognising that you are in control of you and only you. You can't, don't need to and don't try to exert control on anyone else. And equally, you don't feel that you need to give away control of you to anyone else.


Being willing to explain your opinion, what you believe and what's important to you.

Acknowledging others

Accepting that others may think, act, communicate and make choices that are different to you.

Being willing to consider different perspectives and respond accordingly.

...which together means that Straightforwardness is the platform for trust and psychological safety - the key to all good relationships. Allowing you to create an environment where people know that different perspectives can be shared openly without fear of judgement or conflict.

Straightforwardness is one of the Emotional Intelligence competencies that really highlight the fact that

Being emotionally intelligent means developing all of the competencies

Together they create a really positive impact on how we approach and react to every scenario and the results we get. And having too much of one or a few competencies and not enough of others means that the impact of each falls short and can explain the problems that people have in their relationships and roles.

For example,

Straightforwardness without Empathy

...may mean that you are very good about expressing your own views but aren't sensitive to the emotional impact on the other person. Your communication will be more effective and your relationships far better if you have both competencies.

Straightforwardness without adaptability

...may mean that you are very good about expressing your own views and acknowledging someone else has a different perspective, but you're not really willing to consider changing what you think or say based on any of the new information that their perspective provides. This means

  • you could be missing out on developing ideas that are even better than yours alone.

  • you may not be able to flex how you communicate and your message may be misunderstood as a result.

How do you develop Straightforwardness?

Coaching is by far the most efficient, effective, engaging, empowering and enjoyable way to build any of the Emotional Intelligence competencies.

Helping you to develop, refine and embed your own personalised strategies for each competency.

And this blog contains some ideas for you to experiment with on your own that have worked for me and my clients.

If you’re interested in understanding your level of emotional intelligence using one of the RocheMartin assessments or would like to explore coaching for developing components of it like Straightforwardness, you can book a free call here.

And if you'd like to try out my monthly emails that provide a roundup of my blogs as well as other insights, you can sign up here.


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