Staying Positive When You Have to Deliver Bad News to Your Team

Good news is easy to deliver, but being the bearer of bad news isn’t such a fun position to be in. Unfortunately, managers don’t always have the privilege of handing out awards and bonuses. There may be times when you have to deliver bad news to your team. Perhaps a new competitor is threatening your business, cuts need to be made, layoffs are imminent, or you have to disappoint a high performer who wants a raise. The bottom line is there is no easy way to deliver bad news and it’s going to be painful no matter what. That said, here are a few tips on how to stay positive and deliver bad news the right way.

Be Prepared
You can’t assume that just because you know the situation that you can stand up and deliver the news to your team. Take some time to consider the issue and how the information might be received. How are your employees going to react? What will their concerns be? Do you have adequate information and answers for them? How are you going to help them remain positive in light of the situation? Put some thought to these questions and consider what you are going to say carefully.

Be Honest and Straightforward
It might seem like the best way to deliver bad news is to downplay the situation, but this can make your employees lose trust in you. The best way to deliver bad news is to be honest and straightforward. Don’t beat around the bush. Get to the point and make sure your message is clear. In doing so, remember to be graceful and empathetic. It’s not easy to receive bad news, so put yourself in your employee’s shoes and imagine how they might feel. Give them time to process the information and allow them to ask questions if needed.

Look for Plausible Solutions
Challenges aren’t easy but they do provide opportunities for growth and development. Whenever possible, look for alternative options and solutions that might come as a result of the difficult situation. For example, you may have to increase work hours to complete a project but remind employees of the payoff at the end. Prepare a few solutions in advance and be prepared to offer suggestions for how to handle the situation.

Remember You are a Leader
In times of distress, your team will look to you for leadership. You have to remember that you are leading your team, and if you fall apart and crumble, so does your team. When you are faced with bad news, embrace the challenge and look for ways to improve and learn. Modeling this will enable your team to do the same. Stay strong and use difficult situations as a time to come together as a team and be there for each other. This positivity will be contagious and is the motivation your employees need.