Susan believed that allowing her team to work flexible hours was good for the company and helped people balance work and life. When corporate decreed that employees had to work a more set schedule, Susan struggled with supporting her people and falling in line with the organization’s dictates.

Delivering bad news to your employees is never fun. How do you do that when you are ambivalent about the issue yourself?

Amy Gallo in HBR’s How to Deliver Bad News to your Employees recommends gaining a complete understanding of the decision before communicating it to others. Ask the right questions to gain knowledge about the context and reasons for the company’s position. There may be an opportunity to weigh in or even appeal a decision that you believe to be unwise.

If the decision is final, and you can do nothing about the outcome but accept it, do that, and don’t hesitate to employ Gallo’s next step – communicate directly and honestly with your people. Allow them to vent if they need to do so. Recognize that your role is to listen, not debate since the decision won’t be changed. Don’t share your own misgivings with your team. After all, their job now is to implement the decision, not second-guess it.

One of the most difficult things to do is to communicate a decision with which you don’t agree. Be sure to come to terms with your own issues, so when you communicate the news to your staff, the non-verbal messages are managed.


Have a foolproof way to communicate the bad news? Comment below or message us.

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