I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news. Which do you want first?
We’ve all heard that before, but how much have you actually thought about the order? I never really gave it much thought until recently, but I can tell you now I wish I had.
Late last year I called a staff meeting. To start the meeting, I thanked the staff for all their hard work throughout the year and told them that in spite of the economy we had a good year thanks to their willingness to go above and beyond to advance the precast industry. I also told them it’s a pleasure to be working with such talented individuals, something I truly believe. The meeting was going great, but what I didn’t realize was my mistake was about to rear its ugly head.
You see, I also had to share with them that, due to the economy, it just wasn’t possible to give any raises for the upcoming year. Problem is, I saved it until the very end. The minute I gave the bad news, I watched all the positive feelings I had built over the past 20 minutes go right out of the room like a balloon that had suddenly sprung a leak. Every single person in that room forgot all the positive things I had said up to that point, and instead walked out a little deflated. I knew immediately I had gone about it all wrong.
It wasn’t long after that meeting that I read a piece written by author and pastor Bill Hybels. The topic of this particular article was about the very situation I had just faced, having good and bad news, and he recommended always delivering the bad news first.
The point here is certainly not to hide the bad news. Your employees need to know the whole picture, and if you hide the bad news I can guarantee it will come back to bite you. Instead, communicate with them often, clearly, and honestly, and if you have both good and bad news to share, start low and build your way up from there. By leading with the bad and ending with the good, you can address the challenge right and then proceed with how you’re going to deal with it and achieve a solution in a positive and constructive manner. The meeting will end on a much higher note and your employees will leave feeling much better than if you had done the reverse.
President, National Precast Concrete Association