Whether your team has worked hard on a project that ultimately won't be seen through to fruition, or you've recently laid off a team member, sharing bad news with your colleagues is no easy task as a manager. Preparing in advance, however, gives you the best opportunity to collect your thoughts and decide how you want to position your message.
A. Be Honest
Delivering bad news is never fun, but it's a part of any business. What has helped my business is being honest with my team and showing them the light at the end of the tunnel. Before letting the team know, find a way out. Demonstrate that you have a plan and get feedback from them on how to avoid the situation in the future. After all, many challenges can lead to growth. - John Arroyo, Arroyo Labs, Inc.
A. Have a Plan
The best way to attack going into a meeting with bad news is to formulate a plan prior to breaking the news. It is best to have a plan in place to negate the bad news and show your team how committed you are to overcoming the obstacle. The best leaders I've worked with take a hurdle in stride, learn from the experience and move on immediately. - Nick Francis, The Franchise Group
A. Write It Down First
When I've had to break news to our team about a number of things such as losing an employee or a co-founder, or not having sufficient funds and having to delay payroll by a week, I wrote down what I wanted to say first. It allowed me to phrase the messaging, internalize how it would come off to the team and have a clear arc to keep them inspired at the end. Transparency is key in these situations. - Ben Maitland-Lewis, Pretty Instant
A. Prepare for the Conversation
Be sure to have all the details down before talking with your employees. This is the time for carefully chosen words and a confident delivery. You also need to know how the decision was made, who was consulted, what other possibilities were discussed and the rationale behind the final outcome. - Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs
A. Don't Waffle
The most important thing is that you be direct with your message. Make sure you know everything about the situation before you start explaining it and take the time to prepare yourself for any questions your team might ask. The worst thing you can say in this situation is, "I'm not sure." - Steven Buchwald, The E2 Visa Lawyer
A. Share Good News After Delivering the Bad
The saying, "Do you want the good news or the bad news first?" is a way to offset the bad news. Always have good news when giving out bad news, and be willing to clarify the details. - Ajmal Saleem, Suprex Learning
These answers are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.