Got tough news? There are ways to deliver it — without coming off like the bad guy

Sometimes there’s no avoiding difficult conversations, especially as a manager.

Talking to your workers about tough subjects like layoffs, budget cuts or performance issues is never fun, but there are ways to handle those talks with tact.

3 keys to success

Here are three ways to share the not-so-great stuff:

  1. Pay attention to timing. Don’t tell your employees bad news about the company on Monday morning or right before the holiday season. It’ll bring down morale. Instead, plan out the best possible time to let workers get used to the idea and have a chance to recover before they have to get back to work.
  2. Customize the discussion. Workers know when you’re using a cookie-cutter template to deliver bad news. Modify how and what you say to ensure the best possible outcome for the person you’re talking to. Keep in mind how that employee handles tough conversations and what else is on his or her plate right now.
  3. Use the appropriate method. Don’t share complicated or sensitive news over email. Try whenever possible to have difficult talks in person. If that’s not doable, apologize and explain why.


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