HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
Paul said in Colossians 4:5-6, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
And the writer of Proverbs 25:11 said, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
We must remember that leaders are aiming to change hearts, not just to get jobs done. Therefore, alienating people unnecessarily is self-defeating. Tact is that quality of grace that wins the confidence of people who are sure you won’t do or say something stupid. You can’t inspire a following if people have to hang their heads in embarrassment at the inappropriate and insensitive things you say or do. Tact is especially needed in a leader to help cope with embarrassing or tragic situations.
For example, very often when you are leading a group someone will say something totally irrelevant, which is recognized to be very foolish by everyone in the group. A tactful leader must be able to divert the attention of the group back to the main course of the discussion without heaping scorn upon the individual.
The tact of a leader must demonstrate itself in forthright confrontation. The person who is unwilling to approach a person who needs admonition or rebuke will not be a successful spiritual leader. Combined with his judgment of people’s character, a leader’s tact will enable him to handle delicate negotiations and opposing viewpoints. His choice of words will be astute rather than clumsy. (There is a big difference between saying, “Your foot is too big for this shoe” and “This shoe is too small for your foot”.)