I don’t know about you, but delivering bad news is my least favorite thing to do! Let’s say you’ve got to tell an employee who’s going through a tough time that he or she is being laid off. Or share with your team that because biz is so good, they have to work through the upcoming holiday weekend.
Because you are a good person, you’d like to make these types of announcements as easy to take as they can be, right? So you wade into the topic gingerly, chatting up the weekend activities first. You take a “loose and casual” type of language. And you attempt to soften the blow.
It will be surprising to you that this is the WORST way in which to convey bad news – sugarcoating it. According the research, people would much rather you are clear and concise and upfront with bad news. This means that the next time you need to deliver bad news to one staff member or the entire team, you should communicate clearly and directly. Here are some tips we hope will make it a bit easier:
- Take time to practice your message – use 15-20 words that sum up the situation. When the time comes, use this practiced message first.
- Avoid clever wording and jargon. No $100 words here. Again, simple and straightforward.
- Try to think about questions and possible responses the employee may have and have a couple of responses ready.
- Be caring. You’re stressed about having to deliver bad news, but you can still empathize with the recipient.
Even though we’d love to be able to change bad news, we can’t. What we CAN do is deliver it in the best way possible.
What kinds of bad news have you had to deliver? What methods worked best? What was outcome? Any tips to share?