Delivering Bad News
Note: for the most part this page relates to business and issues surrounding redundancy, firings, loss of a promotion opportunity, etc. But the principles can be used, carefully, in personal situations. Just be aware that often emotions run much higher in personal setting.
- As in most things preparation and practice are key when delivering bad news. From a corporate training point of you delivering bad news should be included in management training courses.
- The old adage of looking people in the eye works well here.
- Make sure your attitude facial expressions and body language match the information your delivery.
- Empathy is good but trying too hard to soften the blow can lead to misunderstanding.
- Where appropriate explain why things have happened. This is especially important in a formal/workplace environment.
- Be factual. Don’t editorialise senior management decisions.
- Never criticise the management/organisation/people that have made difficult decisions.
- Don’t debate any decisions that have led to the bad news.
- Have some sort of support package you can offer to help the individual going forward.