How to Deliver Bad News as a Manager

an aerial view of 2 men holding cups of coffee as the boss ponders How to Deliver Bad News as a Manager

When the News Is Bad
No one likes to receive bad news.  But it sometimes seems harder to deliver 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.

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.

1. Whenever Possible, Deliver Bad News in Person
The first rule is that you should try whenever you can to give bad news in person. Why?  Because an attitude and body language of being supportive rather than accusatory can lessen the blow and can help assure the receiver that it’s not personal.

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.

2. Don’t Sugar Coat Bad News
The tendency is to try to soften the bad news with other good news or positive feedback. But what often happens is that you either come across as insincere or the negative message is lost in the positive.  Employee feedback is clear – they would prefer to have a straightforward conversation rather than a manager’s skirting or downplaying the issues.

3. Show Understanding
Don’t pretend that the conversation will not be difficult. Acknowledge that what you have to say will be hard to hear but that you want to be clear and truthful.

Perhaps an employee’s performance is not up to the standards you have set.  Be clear about where and how they need to improve and work on a plan together that will raise the level of performance in an acceptable time period.

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.

4. Be Open with Bad News
Invite questions and answer them honestly. If the recipient is not ready to discuss the bad news further at this time, schedule an opportunity to talk again.  Your willingness to share what you know and how it might be addressed will go far to build trust in your employees and make the news easier to accept.

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

 

Comments are closed.

I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.

Stephanie Webb
HR Program Manager

Rambus

We recently partnered with LSA Global to offer our Supervisors and Managers a customized two-day management training program. Everyone who attended said it was by far the best management training program they had ever attended. The content was rich and highly interactive. The case studies were relevant. Each participant walked away from the training much better equipped to lead their teams.

Jeff Coon
Director of Human Resources

I had been working with LSA for many years with my prior company. Currently, I’m with a company who hadn’t done much basic management skills training. After identifying and presenting a program recently, our managers are excited and talking in the halls about the great experience. LSA saves us time in delivering the right training for our needs.

Phyllis Moracco
HR Director

The LSA Global team was very receptive and flexible to our needs every step of the way. Their staff and facilitator demonstrated attention to detail, responsiveness, and professional courtesy. The participants were thrilled with the outcome and rated the communication skills workshop and the facilitator as ‘Excellent’. I’d highly recommend working with the LSA Global team to meet your professional development needs.

John Mastrorilli
FRDP Leader

Intuit

LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

I highly recommend LSA Global to anyone who is looking to improve individual or organizational effectiveness through their top quality programs and broad range of expertise.

Greg Pappas
VP of Human Resources

I’ve partnered with LSA Global at two companies now, and I consider them a valuable and trusted training and consulting resource. They recommended just the right solution to address our management development needs and have wonderful facilitators that match YuMe’s culture and style of our management team. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions with a valuable learning and development partner.

Maya Paul
HR Director

We signed up with LSA early on–as their 22nd Member! Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased and decreased and increased again with the changing times. The beauty of the LSA business model is its flexibility…when we needed to supplement our own internal resources, we used LSA services knowing that we could depend on the outstanding quality of the leadership development and management training programs they provide.

Margie Bunting
HR Manager

Each program is preceded by an assessment of the participants. The course is then designed to fit the specific parameters and needs of the group. The highly interactive delivery is provided by recognized experts in their fields. On the spot coaching is provided during the program and each participant receives individual follow-up after the course. Courses can be delivered in-person or virtually. Given the nature of Cisco’s business and the way we operate, these remote workshops are a must for anyone who joins our company. Their work is eye opening. Great content and fantastic delivery.

Frank J. Kuypers
Business Development Manager

We engaged LSA to design and deliver a 6-month custom executive coaching program for a group of our key leaders. The focus of the program was to help a core group of senior leaders to leverage previous investments in management training, to ensure the engagement and retention of key employees, and to push critical strategic initiatives forward. Even with the high expectations of our senior people, LSA has completely exceeded our expectations. I would recommend them to anyone looking to create and implement a custom coaching methodology using proven tools to drive true change.

Ivan Fukumoto
Senior HR Manager - Staffing, Training, & Development

SeaTel has found our partnership with LSA Global to be very valuable and beneficial. We turned to LSA to customize a supervisory/leadership solution to meet our needs. LSA delivered a customized top quality solution. I’d recommend LSA Global to any company looking for a best-in-class training and consulting partner.

Kortney Riddle
HR Manager

Congratulations on your pro-activity in establishing this program and developing such an effective New Employee Orientation course.

Farhat Ali
President and Chief Executive Office

Fujitsu

We value our relationship with LSA Global. We came to LSA because we wanted to improve overall behavioral based interviewing capabilities of our managers to increase the probability of both hiring top talent and future leaders. LSA designed a highly customized solution for our business and culture. We are currently rolling out this solution to our leaders. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource.

Rae Phillips
HR Project Manager - Training & Development, PHR

LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.

Chris Wells
Vice President, HR and IT

Our company engaged LSA to do a specialized “train the trainer” program, and the consultant’s performance outdid our exceptionally high standards for such a program. Very crucial to the success of this program was the work done upfront to discuss our needs and to interview key members of our organization so that the program specifically met our goals. Our facilitators continue to comment on the success of the program. Thanks also for the follow-up.

Frank Abbott
Chief Financial Officer

Evaluate your Performance

Toolkits

Toolkits

Download key published insights and tools from industry experts highlighting best practices in the areas of talent, strategy and culture.

More

Health Checks

Health Checks

Want to know how you stack up against leading organizations?  Receive a complimentary benchmarking analysis courtesy of an LSA Expert.

More

Whitepapers

Whitepapers

Get up to speed on timely solutions critical to your business. Published by LSA Experts based upon client feedback and key industry trends.

More

Methodology

Methodologies

First we identify the key metrics you want to improve. Then we assemble a dedicated team of elite experts who have successfully solved similar problems with similar clients.

More

Blogs

Stay up to do date with the latest information on how we help high growth companies align their culture and talent with strategy.

More

Case Studies

Client Case Studies

Real world consulting and training approaches from LSA projects, providing insights on how your company can outperform the competition.

More