I was working recently with a wonderful group of tech professionals. They are a rapidly growing team here in Washington, D.C., and one of the things that they were talking about was how do they take care of their team…
I met recently with a coaching client who had bad news to deliver. A major project had to be postponed because of lack of support at the board level. He was waiting for the right moment to break it to his team. It was proving hard to figure out when that would be. He didn’t want to do it just before Thanksgiving. Then he didn’t want to do it just before Christmas or Hannukah or New Years. The list went on. Meanwhile staff continued to make plans, discussing the project and anticipating what it would mean for the organization. Some of them hoped to relocate, as the project was to be rolled out globally. Their families debated the pros and cons.
In the communications business it’s generally considered best practice to get bad news out early and entirely. If it is inevitable, as this news was, it is far better to rip the Bandaid off sooner rather than later. After the fact you’ll be asked: “What did you know and when did you know it?” The longer you’ve held the information back, the more deceitful you look. Even if your motives are good and you’re exploring possibilities to salvage the situation. You are better off coming clean as soon as you can. And don’t hold back on key details. The drip, drip of further bad news makes you seem either incompetent or complicit. Be brave, rip the Bandaid off now.
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