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(Ferran Traite Soler/iStockphoto)
(Ferran Traite Soler/iStockphoto)

How to deliver bad news Add to ...

Leaders from time to time have to deliver bad news. If you struggle with those moments, here's some advice on MichaelHyatt.com from orthopedic surgeon Jeremy Statton, who often has to share bad news with others:

Be personal: Do the dirty work yourself, and in person when possible. Sometimes, to avoid conflict, we look for an easy way out. But that's only going to upset people more.

Be direct: Lay the cards on the table, getting to the critical information without too much delay. When you start explaining away things, people get the sense something is up.

Be succinct. Don't elaborate on the issue any longer than necessary. "Be available to answer pertinent questions, but do not feel that you have to make a long defence or try to explain things over and over again," he advises.

Be honest: There can be a tendency in these situations to try to wriggle around the truth. But honesty is the best approach. If people find out later that you lied to them, it will only make the situation worse.

Be kind: Imagine what it would be like to receive the news you must deliver. Say things in the same compassionate, considerate way you would want in that situation. "How you interact with people, instead of the specific words you say, may be the thing they remember most about your conversation," he points out.

Be patient: Give the person time to evaluate the information before having to respond.

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