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How to deliver bad news.... well
Posted by Kathi Rogers | Learning & Development Consultant on 28 February 2019
We are a few weeks into the new year and you may have already found yourself in a situation where you need to tell someone news they don’t want to hear. How have you handled it? Did you avoid their calls? Write them an email? Or maybe you did speak to them and on reflection you wish you’d done some things differently.
At ATI-Mirage we pride ourselves on real conversations with real results. We want to share with you some of our techniques for having a tough conversation.
Firstly, have conversations in person. Face to face conversation is the most effective way to get your message across. When delivering bad news, body language is a key component of how your message is received. So, consider the location for the conversation, seating positions and your posture. Depending on the nature of the topic, you may also want to ensure there are tissues, and water in the room.
Minimize shock. Bad news, delivered well, ideally is information the receiver is already somewhat aware of. For example, when the news is redundancy, employees ideally would already know their company is looking to restructure. Emotions may run high, so this can be reduced by minimizing the shock where possible and letting people know what is going on ahead of time.
Next, have all the facts. When delivering bad news, recipients usually want answers to their questions, such as the “why”, “how” and “what next?”. Make sure you have these answers ready, or know where to get the answers.
Take responsibility for the message you are sending. Its easy to deflect responsibility on to something or someone else when conversations get tough. If your role requires you to deliver bad news to a team member, do so with the integrity your role requires. Do not blame or point the finger. Work with your team member so they understand the situation and that you will support them through the next steps.
Support. Ensure there is support for your team member and also for you after a tough conversation. Build confidence in your ability to handle tough conversations and reflect on what worked, so next time isn’t as challenging.
Would you like to know more about handling tough conversations? Join us for the next Communicating and Connecting topic workshops.