OMG! Communicating bad news

Our anonymous correspondent has been both the recipient and giver of bad news at work recently. Here she considers how best to share bad news.

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Fourthly, make sure that people are supported through periods of unsettling change. An underutilised but hugely effective strategy is to build in small but regular communications and, have obvious 'go to' points. This nips the rumour mill in bud and keeps the process moving forward. Prolonged silence and 'not being there' are hallmarks of impoverished management.  A little and often is an excellent maxim.

Finally, find space and time for yourself. It is bruising and draining to be the one delivering unsettling news and all the more if you have to pick up the pieces.  You need to maintain your strength and focus during these periods and your people will be looking for support from you. Hard as it may seem, finding these little periods of space to reflect is vital in enabling you to absorb and understand what is happening and respond to it appropriately.  It stops you being back-footed and gives you the space to reconnect your own emotions and feelings with the processes that you have to go through. 

So, next time you have to deliver unsettling  news, remember, a minute of reflection here and there can avoid hours of having to pick up the pieces and will help keep the respect of the people around you - and these days, you never know when you may need them!

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