Delivering difficult news isn’t easy. But many leaders find themselves routinely having to communicate something unpleasant to their teams or clients. Perhaps a deadline was missed or a proposal declined. Or maybe a position is being terminated or a project defunded.
Difficult situations are bound to happen. And when they do, good leaders don’t hide behind a cyber wall to deliver the bad news. Sure, it’s easier to send an email or text. We’re all human, after all, and try to avoid painful emotions. But this easy route is rarely the best route, especially for those looking to move up in the company.
The most-respected leaders understand the importance of delivering bad news in person. It’s simply the most respectful way to treat the impacted parties and protect your reputation. Physically being there also further demonstrates your leadership skills. Here’s how:
- Delivering bad shows you have the courage and strength needed to manage any situation.
- Holding a respectful conversation, instead of simply issuing a memo, demonstrates that you have the compassion and people skills needed to lead.
- Providing an opportunity for opposing parties to speak their minds, even when their thoughts counter yours, signals your commitment to lead with dignity.
Before you act …
There may be a time when you can’t personally deliver bad news because of the size or location of your audience. If so, consider a video message or telephone conversation. Email should be your last resort.