DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER – HOW TO DELIVER BAD NEWS AT WORK

There’s some bad news at the office and you have to be the one to break it to everyone. How do you do this without creating chaos? Is there a way to do it so the employees don’t spend the rest of the day running for the hills? Here’s some ideas on how to deliver bad news in the workplace.

Be Prepared:

Understand the issue and where the decision is coming from. Be familiar with details and know how to honestly answer questions from the staff. Explain the alternatives and show the rationale behind the choice that was made. You might not agree with the decision, but you need to understand the direction and what is best for the future of the company.

Location, location, location:

Give the news in the appropriate setting and not while passing in the hallway or standing by the water cooler. Set a meeting so you have enough time to talk with the person. Some news might need to be delivered while both parties are seated. It’ll help keep the emotions low and prevent fainting.

Be empathetic:

Try to put yourself in the receiver’s shoes. How would you feel in that situation? Show that you care about your employee and how this news will affect them. Ask the worker how they feel about this and what their thoughts are on the matter. Through discussion there may be a way to find a solution. You will also need to give the receiver time to digest the message.

Stay positive:

Bad news is just that, but it doesn’t have to mean disaster. See if there isn’t a way to spin it into a positive light and focus on the cloud’s silver lining. The issue isn’t necessarily a result of the person, but rather the situation the company is in. Is there a way to turn things around for the better? Work together to see if an improvement plan can be created.

Delivering bad news is never easy, but it can be done with grace and style. Remove the sugar coating and honestly pass on the information clearly and concisely. Employees will feel better if they feel they are understood and cared for. These tips will help everyone involved move past the news and into the future in a more positive light.    

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