It’s better to communicate bad news and difficult messages than to avoid it – even if it’s hard and uncomfortable. It’s even better to have a plan.
Sure, you can put bad news right out there like this —
“We’re not replacing Sue, so everyone needs to take on some of her tasks.”
“Your territory is changing, and that means some of your best accounts will be reassigned.”
“You’re being moved to a different team.”
“We’re downsizing, so you’re out of a job.”
“Our budget has been reduced by 10% so we need to cut back on expenses.”
Ouch! These are all excellent ways to communication IF you want to send people running and screaming in a panic. Don’t be an insensitive jerk.
You are dealing with human beings with human emotions. How well you prepare your message will set everyone up for success.
ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS BEFORE DELIVERING BAD NEWS
- How quickly can I deliver the news?
- When is the right time to deliver the news?
- What am I permitted to share?
- What has to remain confidential?
- How will I explain the importance of confidentiality?
- What questions do I anticipate I will hear?
- How will I answer anticipated questions?
- What resources do I need to have available?
- What expectations do I need to communicate?
- Who needs to hear the news first? Second? Third? etc.
- How much time do I need to share the news AND answer questions AND to listen to concerns?
- How will I keep communication open?
- What is my check-in plan? When will I follow-up?
THEN USE THESE TIPS TO MAKE BAD NEWS EASIER TO HEAR.
Remember, there is a human being receiving the message … so be human when you deliver it.