Giving Bad News As A Manager

Be Careful!

KEY POINTS:

  • DON’T TELL STORIES
  • DON’T BLAME OTHERS
  • DO SUGGEST POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

You have to tell your boss the bad news: you missed the deadline, a bad mistake, you lost the contract, etc. It is critical to do it well—your career might just depend on how you handle these situations. Here are some suggestions:

START OFF WITH THE BAD NEWS

The very worst thing you can do is tell your boss a long story ending with the bad news. Start with “I have some bad news….” Then get right to it, “we lost the contract,” “we are being sued,”” we can’t meet the deadline,” and so on.

DON’T WAIT

It is tempting to put off doing something painful or unpleasant. Do it as soon as you have all the information.

DON’T BLAME ANYONE

Avoid criticizing members of your staff or other departments.

ACCEPT THE RESPONSIBILITY

You are much wiser to take responsibility for what happened. Your boss, if he or she is any good, will know exactly why it happened and who did it.

SUGGEST SOME SOLUTIONS

Have some ideas on how to resolve the problem. The focus of your discussion with your boss should be on what to do next.

Published by pitman

I am a Business English Coach who works with managers and other professionals helping them to perform at their best when it is most important: such as a presentation, meeting with an important client, or a job interview. I am also a resource person for teachers of Business English.

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