It's the most difficult time of the year for a supervisor--annual assessment time! These assessments determine a civilian employee's salary which can create some strong reactions.
One civilian has been particularly livid about this year's assessment, and it has brought to light a good analogy to evangelism.
Adam* doesn't realize the situation he is in. If his performance doesn't improve in the next year I expect he will be removed or have his salary significantly lowered. This is not just my opinion but the collective decision of all the managers in our organization. As his supervisor, it falls to me to explain this to him and when I did he reacted with tears followed by anger. After a week he's still angry; we're scheduled to talk some more about his situation soon.
The most uncaring thing I could have done in my feedback to him would be to avoid telling him the truth about his unfavorable job situation. There's a strong temptation to take the easy way out of these face-to-face feedback sessions and to soften the truth to avoid offense. If I were to do that, however, a year from now he could be out of a job. But by telling him now about his situation, he has the opportunity to change and stay employed.
Do you see the analogy to evangelism? We know the truth about what happens to people without Christ. It falls to us, in God's providence, to inform those around us about their situation before it's too late to change. Will we do that, or will we take the easy way out and fail this test of tough love?
*Not the employee's real name