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Tip of the Day

Sharing bad news in already challenging times

By June 10, 2021September 12th, 2022No Comments

Being able to share difficult news but still keep your team moving forward is going to be the difference between your team not just surviving, but thriving. And even shining. 
Over the previous couple of articles I have shared four steps that come from Winston Churchills ‘Get through a crisis’ framework.
So far we have covered: 
     – Frame the Crisis
     – Evoke a Sense of Destiny
     – Lead Backwards and
     – Redefine Hardship 
In this article we are focusing on the next two – Determining Reality and Dare to Act.
Determining Reality 
Determining Reality is speaking the truth. Insist on knowing the brutal facts and share these. Churchill was known for his candour, which at times was hard for people to hear.
Yes it’s hard to share dark news, but it also means it is an opportunity to find solutions to move through it and not turn away from it. This also builds trust amongst your peers, team members and upper management.
Try this…
Write down your top 3 biggest concerns about getting your team through this crisis.
Are these a concern because you don’t know how to approach them, or believe you cannot resolve them?  Whichever it is, share these with your team. 
As a leader you don’t have to have all the answers.
Some of the best leaders I have witnessed have acknowledged they don’t have the answers, but will not give up trying to solve them. Plus, your team members may have the answer!
I was on a call with a client just this week who had let his team know that he just cannot guarantee everyone’s job in six months time. It was clear that he and the team found this upsetting. What he then said was “I don’t know how we solve this, but maybe one of you do”. 
It is often hard to find solutions to problems we are so close to. A village raises a child and the same can be said for raising a team and company out of difficulty and towards success. 
Second tip:
Dare to act. 
People want to know what to do, but often they don’t know until someone acts it out.
Churchill was known for going to the roof of his house and shoot at the Nazi planes when they flew past. He wasn’t stupid enough to think he would hit them but he knew what that meant to his people for making that symbolic act. 
I have one client who refused to stand down a staff member, as she knew this would negatively impact the short and mid term goals of their team. She didn’t find saying no to her Executive easy, but she dared to act, as she knew it was the right decision to protect her team.
So try this…
What is some kind of act or gesture you can do, that shows you mean what you say? What can you do that is consistent with what you are asking of your team at the moment? Do it, and make it visible.

Margie Ireland works with CEO’s, executives, HR professionals, managers and leaders. Margie is a Psychologist with a strong commercial background of 25 years and specialises in supporting highly capable leaders to thrive in challenging times.