How to Deliver Bad News

The short answer is avoid delivering bad news if at all possible. When you deliver bad news you are risking people’s emotional response to be attached to your likability. Especially in professional environments, the delivery of bad news should be planned seriously and delivered carefully. The delivery of bad news should be avoided because bad news in a sense is the end. There would be no bad news if you were to figure out a solution to the problem at hand.


Try to Deliver As Many Solutions or Mitigation Ideas As Possible


The delivery of bad news implies that you are bringing forth things that people don’t want to hear without a solution on how to fix those things. Once you deliver the bad news, you are no longer useful to the person who you are interacting with and might even be a hindrance.

When delivering bad news, ensure that you look for and present a solution to this news. Provide ideas on how to mitigate this news and think about the effect this news has on your recipient. As a manager, you will deliver a lot of bad news to your team. Maintaining levels of team morale are critical to when delivering bad news to your team. Make sure you explain thoroughly what this news means going forward and what steps of action will be taken to overcome these findings.


Consider Outsourcing the Delivery of Bad News


Outsourcing the delivery of bad news can also aid in your approach of being a fixer rather than a finder. People who find out about issues are useful but not the most respected, as they may not provide any ideas for the fixing or avoidance of those issues.

Making somebody else deliver bad news enables you to take on the role of the leader who will fix the issues that are included in the new findings. Once a person delivers the bad news, they are lumped into the mental section where this bad news exists. This section of our brains is negative and anxious. It for some reason is difficult to let go of the association between the deliverer and the news itself. This is the reason behind the old, “don’t shoot the messenger,” saying.

Avoid being the messenger of bad news, and jump on the opportunity to fix issues which are delivered as pieces of this bad news. If you discover bad news and need people around you to know, let someone else take the shine of discovering the news. The shine one receives discovering a piece of bad news, is not near as bright as the person who fixes the issues causing this news to be presented.


Understand the Effect of This News


Your reputation as a person who gets things done effectively will be hurt by the presentation of bad news. You need to be sure that the issues you’re coming forth with and presenting can be fixed, and that you can play a large role in fixing these issues. If you do not feel confident in your role of mitigating the issues at hand, attempt to outsource the delivery of this news by telling only a select few first.

When the news is delivered, you need to be fully sympathetic to the sorrows your news brings. People get put off when the messenger of bad news does not seem sympathetic to the seriousness of the news they are delivering.

Book Recommendation: 

News of the World

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