Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers says …
Breaking bad news can leave the boss coping with stress
“His father got me my first job, straight from school” said Yousuf. “And now I’ve got to make him redundant.”
I was sitting next to him at lunch, during a break in-between two keynote presentations of mine on Managing Change at a big investment house in Dubai. One of those speeches touched on that very subject (which we classify as a ‘client challenge’), where the mindset of the person receiving bad news must be explored in depth.
But even as we spoke, I realized that the person who has to break the bad news may also be in need of stress counselling support. And I remembered someone telling me that 40% of doctors try to tone-down bad news, to spare themselves the pressure of an emotionally-charged response.
Well, the coffee was on its way, so I had to break a little awkward news of my own to Yousuf. His duty was the make the announcement clearly and sensitively. But he would have to realize that this particular message does not immediately register on the rational level, and that he must take steps to encourage the individual to acclimatise to his position.
And I noted that Yousuf’s position was almost as fraught as the man he was firing.
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