Saturday, 22 February 2014

Don't use e-mail for bad news

Nowadays almost everyone uses e-mail to communicate speedily and concisely with others. However some lessons are becoming apparent. 

NEVER USE E-MAIL TO PASS ON BAD NEWS 

If you use e-mail to pass on bad news, the chances are that you will not be appropriate in your choice of wording. This could hurt the other person and damage your relationship. Worse, your e-mail might get passed to others, and could end up being made public, which you might not relish. 

If you need to give bad news, like 
  • “You are not getting the promotion/pay rise you expected”, 
  • “You’re fired”, or
  • “The boss hated your idea”, 
then go and see the other person and explain the situation to them face-to-face. 

This might make you feel uncomfortable, but not as uncomfortable as you would feel if you could never face the other person again. Also it may be that this is the only way they will really understand how the decision was reached, otherwise they could “bad-mouth” you and those around you for the rest of their lives. 

SPEAK – AND LISTEN 

If you can’t see the person, then at least call them and give them an opportunity to respond. Even if it is bad news, the key benefit for the other person will be to feel truly listened to. It is not necessarily your job to explain all aspects of the bad news, but it is your job to listen. 

AND DON’T USE TEXTS EITHER! 

Someone once gave me bad news – via a text! Worse, they didn’t make sure I was there to respond. I would have appreciated the opportunity to be listened to, and I could have listened to them. And of course, if I had been able to listen to them, I might have really understood what had gone wrong, and been able to fix it then and there. 

SO REMEMBER, IF IT’S BAD NEWS, DON’T USE E-MAIL


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