If asked about one difficult thing that you really don’t like about leading people, what would you say? The most often answer is: delivering a tough message . It is a leader’s duty to be the one who makes tough decisions but also the one who conveys them to employees, especially if it is something important and heavy like layoffs.
How to deliver bad news to employees?
It is hard to deliver bad news to one person, and it is even more challenging when you need to communicate a tough message to the whole department or to all the employees in the organization. I am sharing with you an article written by talent management expert Jennifer Zombron and published on HeliosHR.com.
Jennifer says she opts for the “Rip the Band-Aid approach”: “Do it quickly and without preamble. You know it will hurt when you yank the Band-Aid off, but it will hurt less than a slow peel.” She reminds us of the necessity to prevent rumours and misinformation, and rightly, she says “employees often know when something’s up and the more time goes by, the more unsettled employees get”.
Jennifer suggests several guidelines to follow when delivering a tough message to employees. One of her guidelines is to keep in mind that “ you may need a communication strategy that includes multiple delivery methods – in person, via email, all employees at once, or small groups of similarly impacted employees .” She also reminds us to be respectful and to allow an opportunity for employees to ask question.
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