New Leader Challenges - Let Them Down Easy
Bad news is never welcome. It is hard to deliver; and even harder to receive.
Recently, a mid-level manager whom we will call Bob, was on the receiving end of some bad news. He had interviewed for a higher position in his organization, but another candidate was chosen.
The delivery of bad news comes in many forms. The easy way, which usually alienates an applicant, is to send a generic email declination. Even worse is for the applicant to not receive any communication other than an email that introduces the new position holder (not them) or to hear the news from co-workers who are somehow “in the know.” Then there is the hard way, which is also known as the right way. This involves a face-to-face meeting with the staff member in order to discuss the decision before it is made public. When bad news is delivered with a personal touch it demonstrates the good character of the leader. It can also build a better sense of team in the process.
It was the latter declination that Bob experienced. Although he was disappointed by the news, he respected the decision-maker for taking the time to deliver the message in person. She turned the meeting into an opportunity to build mutual respect and trust with Bob. In fact, Bob left the meeting with a very favorable opinion of the leader.
Bottom Line: Delivering difficult messages can have a positive outcome if you plan your message. Have a strategy, and deliver tough messages with confidence and honesty.
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