Being a boss brings countless moments of excitement, especially when you have the opportunity to share positive news. Yet, with the good comes the bad, and as a manager you will be tasked with the unenviable duty of delivering difficult news. Uncomfortable though it may be, with the right approach, relaying such news can become a testament to your character.
As a leader you must be willing to place yourself on the tightrope between discomfort and compromise in order to benefit the company as a whole.
Finding the equilibrium – between what the employee wants and what the company needs – can be tough. These tips will help ease the burden of delivering difficult news to your employees:
Be prepared: Delivering bad news is difficult in itself. Add into the mix some stumbled–over words and jumbled up sentences, and the situation becomes even trickier. As a manager you must have a clear plan, but you also want to come across as genuine, so don’t memorise or rehearse what you are going to say. Instead ensure you fully understand the situation and prepare yourself with a repertoire of likely responses.
Show empathy not sympathy: Showing sympathy can sometimes result in you searching for the silver lining to a problem that cannot be solved with words alone. As a boss, showing empathy towards an employee is essential in softening the disappointment that bad news can bring. You must recognise what the employee is feeling and let them you know you care.
Take your time to explain in detail: Every good leader knows that details are crucial when it comes to effective communication. It might be difficult, but take your time to explain the difficult news to your employee, as it’s important that they understand why and how the conclusion was reached. Guiding them through the ins and outs of the decision you have made will allow them to take the information on board and learn from the constructive feedback.
Allow your employee to voice their feelings: Once the news is out in the open, stifling people’s natural reactions tends to do more harm than good. A successful boss must encourage their employees to voice their opinions. Working through the employee’s response will create a situation where they want to work towards a goal instead of resenting you or feeling disappointed.
Illustrate a plan of action: Devising a plan of action for the future gives your employee an incentive – whether it be a pay rise or promotion. An ordinary boss will end the conversation without discussing the employee’s potential opportunities, but a great leader will give them advice on what they can do better in the future, and will provide a roadmap to illustrate how the employee can turn the situation around.