When the News Is Bad
No one likes to receive bad news. But it sometimes seems harder to deliver negative news than to receive it. If you do not know how to deliver bad news as a manager, it is time you learn before it is too late. Unfortunately, too many new or inexperienced managers find it so difficult that they tend to avoid sharing bad news altogether.
Or even worse, they talk about how difficult is is for THEM instead of focusing on YOU — just as the CEO of Better.com, Vishal Garg who fired 900 people over ZOOM and spoke about himself.
How to Deliver Bad News as a Manager
By following a few simple rules of advice from experienced leaders, however, you can learn how to deliver bad news as a manager as effectively and painlessly as possible.
Have you ever received a “Dear John” letter? It hurts not only because the relationship is over but also because your partner did not care enough (or have enough guts) to tell you in person.
Employees are crystal clear about this area. Assuming that your intentions are good, employees would prefer to have a straightforward conversation rather than a manager’s skirting or downplaying the issues.
Maybe the company has hit a rough spot and salaries need to be reduced across the board. Be clear about why the cuts are necessary, how it will help, your strategy for a turnaround, and how you expect to make up for the reduction within a certain time frame.
Bad news is a reality of business, but you can you can deliver bad news as a manager with authenticity and caring.
The Bottom Line
The way the message is delivered does make a difference. You need to learn how to deliver bad news as a manager. A little preparation can go a long way. Be sure you are clear, direct, understanding, and open. You may find that, handled well and with empathy, a difficult conversation can become an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with an employee and improve their performance.
To learn more about how to conduct difficult conversations, download Effective Communication Skills —The Essential Ingredient in Any Interaction
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