I've been told I'm a bit direct, and it's true. As a leader of a company, you have to be. For example, I can't stand it when people beat around the bush when they have something to say. And it doesn't matter if it's directed at me, a partner or a customer. Speaking passively, in my opinion, is one step away from lying. (See, I told you I'm direct!)
Passive voice versus active voice
A quick English refresh. If Tom did something, it's active. For example: Tom started the meeting.
If Tom received the action, it's passive. For example: The meeting was started by Tom.
In my experience, if someone is trying to cover for someone else, I get a passive explanation. For example: "The deadline was missed."
Here, there is no accountability. My first questions would be: "Who missed the deadline, and why did they miss it? Can we help them make the deadline next time?"
Instead of a passive explanation, how about: "We missed the deadline of last Friday. We're sorry, and here's why we missed it ... "
Here, another example of being passive: "The wrong email was sent."
Again, no accountability. My questions: "Who sent the email, why was it wrongly sent and how can we avoid this in the future?"
Here's the same explanation in an active voice: "Jared screwed up, he sent the wrong email, it won't happen this way again and here's why ... "
We're all busy trying to accomplish a million things at our jobs every day. No one has time to ask a bunch of questions just to get to the heart of the matter. Let's all just start actively speaking so we can earn from our mistakes, do a better job next time and move on. 'Nuff said.