Sadness is but a wall between two gardens ~ Khalil Gibran

Breaking the dreaded Bad News

Managers need to be able to choose the right moment to convey bad news to a staff member, such as failure to get a promotion or the turning down of a major project proposal.  To help your employee deal with the bad news constructively, and to avoid impairing effectiveness within the organisation, the following points should be considered.

End of the day might be a good time

If the employee is the type of person who will do a lot of disgruntled, resentful talking to fellow workers, the end of the day might be a good time.  It is also a good time if, as a result of bad news, the employee needs time to consider options you have presented.

End of the day might be a bad time

If the bad news is something the employee can do nothing about, the end of the days is not a good time to deliver the blow.  It is wise not to send the individual away to brood about it at home.

Fridays afternoon might be a good time

Avoid taking other people’s problems home to ruin your weekend.  This can be stressful both to you and your family.  If the cause of the problem rests with another, make certain this person shares in its ownership.

Friday afternoon might not be a good time

Late Friday afternoon might at first appear a good time to break the bad news but, depending on the news, this increases the opportunity for the employee to brood over the matter and possibly to make mountains out of molehills.

Lunchtime might not be a good time

Lunch is probably not a good time because it is the employee’s time and this intrusion might be resented.

When you’re rushed might not be a good time

Breaking bad news can be an emotionally-charged experience for both parties.  It demands your complete attention, so ensure you have adequate time to act with the appropriate sensitivity.

Early in the day might be a good time

The best time for criticism ore breaking bad news might be early in the morning.  This allows the employee time to think it over and also affords the opportunity for a second discussion later.  Even if there is no second discussion, normal contract during the remainder of the day will help to situation and soothe any resentment by the employee.

Consider the employee’s workload

Don’t convey bad news just before an employee has to face a demanding work challenge.  Even if able to cope with the challenge successfully, the mental wear and tear will take its till on the individual.