Delivering bad news to your boss, team, customers or co-workers can be difficult. How do you frame this information and deliver it in a manner that instills confidence, loyalty and commitment to make the necessary changes?
Facts. What are they?
Describe a general overview of the problem. Explain the impact factually. Include how it may affect not only the organization but also individuals, personally. Be sure to address issues that make a difference to your boss, which may be different than the message you provide to your team and co-workers.
Solution. What do you propose as the solution?
Why would this solution work? What is required, and of whom, to make it work? What is the financial impact? First, prior to meeting with your boss for his/her approval, share the issue and listen to ideas from a select few co-workers and team members. This selective process will save you from having too many ideas, which causes an inability to move forward – inertia! Next, provide a full and timely picture to your boss, including proposed solutions along with pros and cons and other implications. Finally, share this precise plan with the entire impacted group, asap.
Act ethically. Stick to the facts.
Too often when communicating bad news, there is a tendency to either sugar-coat it, or make it sound worse than it may be. It is critical at this juncture not to undermine others’ confidence in your ability to resolve this bad news. Develop a centered approach; balance facts and the feelings the situation stirs up. Accept responsibility. Let your boss and others know you are committed to follow through to a successful resolution. Most importantly, do exactly that. Follow it through. Do not quit until you achieve the proposed resolution. Keep others appropriately apprised of the progress.
How have you handled delivering bad news? Leave your comment below.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2011