The Bad News

Tom Leu

bad-newsAnyone who has ever “managed” other people has been there. This includes everyone from industry leaders to shift supervisors to soccer moms…

Somebody drops the ball and you’re now the one who has to deliver the bad news…

The “what” you have to do next is important.

The “how” you choose to do it is even more important…

Some leaders and managers confront with a snarky, passive-aggressive tone that only serves to alienate and piss people off. Other leaders and managers communicate with a tact and couth that still makes the point, but without any unnecessary collateral damage.

I’ve worked with and for these nit-picky types in the past. They needle, prick, and prod a person until the initial issue at hand is so far faded into the background, that nobody even remembers what the hell the actual problem was in the first place. These types pride themselves on uncovering aberrations. They get their self-esteem and sense of self-worth by finding the faults of others, and bringing them to the forefront.

So are you largely encouraging and positive, focusing on what’s good? Or are you largely nay-saying and negative, focusing only on what’s not-so-good?

As a leader of anyone, HOW you choose to deliver the bad news is one of the most important skill-sets you can acquire. I don’t care if you have ten PhD’s, if you fail at this… you fail. Period. That dissertation is useless if you’re ineffective in real-time, with real people, in real situations.

If you come off as hard-nosed and hard-to-please, you’re going to alienate people into despising you. One could argue that this approach does produce results however. I’ll agree to a point, but will further argue that these results are usually short-lived, and this approach only works for the short-term.

If you present as someone who requires high standards and quality, AND emboldens and encourages others along the way, you’re going to attract people to you. This approach typically produces results that are long-lasting and long-term.

the shiFt:

The choice is clear.

Don’t be dick.

Deliver the bad news and hold people accountable, but do so in a manner that garners allegiance, not defiance.

It’s a critically important art form that few truly master.

Be one of the few.

Stay tuned-in…

3 thoughts on “The Bad News

  1. Testimonial: I work at the best animal hospital in Chicago. We are consistently recognized as such by the city’s 3 million residents. Also the celebrity clientele. Can’t name names but they rhyme with Schmoprah, to say the least. My point? I’ve seen doctors with impeccable medical knowledge who couldn’t hack it because they couldn’t relate to the staff. They were dicks. Now they’re fine. Anyone who thinks they won’t have to deal with people, is mistaken. To their own detriment.

  2. Great example, and unfortunately, in my experience, all-too-common. Hard to teach this concept, some just naturally have it. They’re most often the ones in lasting leadership roles; though not always.

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