In the business world, it’s very unlikely that you’re never going to have something that sets you back. Whether you’re running your own business or working for some type of employer or overseer, there’s usually always someone that you’re to report back to, be it your boss, your investors, or your shareholders. So when something bad happens with your business, knowing how to broach this topic can be very challenging. While the last thing you want is to lose your job or fail at your business venture, it’s crucial to your livelihood that you share this bad news with anyone it affects. To help make this conversation a little easier, here are three tips for breaking bad news to those you report to.
Don’t Downplay What’s Happened
Regardless of what the situation is that you’re dealing with, it’s important that you share with the necessary parties whatever information they need to know about what’s happened. When sharing these details, Mark Murphy, a contributor to Forbes.com, warns against the idea to try to downplay whatever happened. When you do this, it can often backfire on you and turn out worse than if you’d just been completely transparent. Not only will soft-pedaling not do you any favors, but it might also make you appear incompetent if your boss finds out the true details and is shocked by how you shared the information with him or her.
Take The Necessary Responsibility
Just like if you were to break a law, it’s sometimes looked on much more favorably if you take responsibility for what you did and are willing to accept whatever consequences befall you. This is especially the case in a professional setting when the bad news is your fault. According to John R. Stoker, a contributor to SmartBrief.com, you should never blame others if the bad news or mistake has come about because of actions you’ve taken. By taking responsibility for the part you played, you show your boss that you respect them enough to tell them the truth and that you are self-aware enough to recognize when what you’ve tried just isn’t working, which can be good for you in the long run.
Focus The Conversation On The Solution
Once you’ve gone over what the bad news is, you should now do whatever you can to focus the conversation on the solution rather than the problem. Sara McCord, a contributor to The Muse, shares that even if your boss wants to dwell on the mistake, try to steer the conversation toward your plan to fix the problem and avoid these types of problems in the future. This will help get everyone in the right mindset.
If you have bad news to break to someone in your career, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you break that new successfully.