Bad-NewsWhen the Young Entrepreneurs Council surveyed a number of business leaders on the following question: “Sometimes you have to break off a business relationship (or fire a key staffer). What’s one tip for delivering bad news well?” they got some insightful responses.

Here are some of the most through-provoking responses the YEC received to this question.

Come from a Place of Kindness

“Before making that call or taking that meeting, sit down and write out everything you appreciate about that relationship so you can approach such a difficult conversation from a place of kindness.” Corey Blake, Round Table Companies

Help the Person Grow

Firing an employee is sometimes necessary, but it can also be a learning experience. “Getting fired is a traumatic event, so if you can make it a learning experience that will help [the person] perform better in the future, everyone wins.” Adam Callinan, BottleCamo

Don't Sugarcoat the Bad News

“Tell it like it is,” says Dan Price, Gravity Payments. “Provide the direct, pertinent info and deliver it right away.”

Deliver the News Yourself

If you’re responsible for the decision, it’s best to deliver the news yourself, directly and honestly.

“Involving intermediaries may lead to unanswered questions, potential narrator problems and a less-than-ideal break off.” Brennan White, Watchtower

Get to the Point

Our impulse is to be gracious and build up to the bad news.

Not so, says Tracy Foster, ONA. “Get to the point at the front end of the conversation … There’s no good reason to leave the person you’re talking with unsure of your intention and waiting - unknowingly—for the bad news to be delivered.”

Explain Your Perspective

It may be helpful for the other party to understand the situation from your perspective. “Clearly, there are good reasons for making your decision, and if they can empathize with your logic, it may remove some of the sting from the bad news.” Robert J. Moore, RJMetrics

Don’t Waver

You can hear out the other person’s arguments against your decision, “but if you know it’s the right move, see it through the end.” Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

Offer a Clear Explanation

When the conversation ends, there should be no ambiguity about why the relationship had to be terminated. “Giving a clear and transparent explanation will ensure the other party fully understands your reasoning, which helps keep hard feelings from forming and gives them constructive info on what they can work on to improve.” Matt Ehrlichman, Porch

What’s your favored technique for delivering bad news?


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