Last week, Brian MacLellan was introduced as the Washington Capitals’ sixth general manager in franchise history beating out roughly fifteen other candidates for the role.
What made him stand out from the other candidates? Well, if you ask Capitals owner Ted Leonsis it was his extreme negativity. Well, not exactly.
According to reports, MacLellan was critically honest and straightforward during his conversations with Leonsis, even pointing to particular areas in which he thought Leonsis needed to improve as an owner. In a press conference announcing the new hire, Leonsis stated, “When Brian had his interview with us, he was very, very straightforward. It really wasn’t an interview where he was trying to impress us or impress me, it was pretty straightforward. He led off with some of the things that I have to do to be a better owner. I thought [that] was very brave and very astute because you don’t want to hear things like that. I thought that was very, very straightforward and honest and authentic to him. I was very appreciative of that because I obviously need to be a better owner.”
Most people are aware it’s never a good idea to lie in an interview, however, it can be difficult to deliver an honest and straightforward message without coming across as offensive or negative. MacLellan was successful for two reasons: He had credibility, and he was diplomatic. His experience with the team, coupled with his deep knowledge and understanding of the industry, allowed him to establish credibility with Leonsis. However, credibility alone isn’t enough. Being diplomatic is just as important. MacLellan got the job because he conveyed his message in a brutally honest, yet respectful way. The next time you have an interview, consider MacLellan’s approach. Offer your advice and opinions in an honest yet diplomatic manner, but only if you have experience or knowledge of the industry.