It’s never easy telling people bad news. As a leader, I have had more than my share of experience telling employees things they didn’t want to hear. I once had to announce a plant closure and it was one of the hardest things I ever did.
Simon Sinek, author of the best selling books Start with Why and Find your Why, gets it right with this quote:
“More information is always better than less. When people know the reason things are happening, even if it’s bad news, they can adjust their expectations and react accordingly. Keeping people in the dark only serves to stir negative emotions.” – Simon Sinek
When communicating bad news, it’s best to be honest, empathetic and informative. Lay out all the facts and give your team time to absorb the news. Each person will process the information differently so it’s important to be present and available to answer questions over the next several days.
I also believe it is important to show your emotions. We are often told that, as leaders, we need to hold back our feelings. In the case of bad news, I prefer to tell people how I really feel. I find that people connect better with a leader who is authentic.
Delivering bad news is one of the toughest things we do as leaders. This simple advice from Sinek will help make the process a little easier.