Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bad News TV

I recently realized I had a problem: I cannot give bad news. Because of my job I have to inform lots of people about delays and other problems that can appear in a project. And trust me, that makes for a lot of bad news. Production delays, parts not delivered on time, parts blocked by customs, tools not ready. It's not glamorous but this is how it is and every day I have to explain the why and the how and the who and the when, to several people, all pushing to solve the issues.

To make things worse, it's not always my fault but I still can't help but blame myself although I know this will not help: they will blame me either way. The bearer of the bad news is always hit by the wave of anger. And so I try to protect myself, but sugar coating everything is not a solution in this business,. People look for the hard candy which is the truth and more so, they look for the answers and solutions. And sometimes I just don't have them. Or I don't have what they expect me to say. And then I have to give bad news again, to someone who is already pissed off and missing hope and confidence.

I try to be sympathetic and explain as best as I can, give solutions, make proposals and the result is people shouting and being angry. And so I change strategy and I'm being mean but that only makes people even angrier. Is there a way out of it? Avoiding to break the news doesn't help either, trust me. It's like people ask for it, they want to know so they chase you around by mail and phone. Some days I feel like they all hate me!

How do you solve this? How do you break the news and how do you react to the aftermath?

PS. Click on the pic, the article is quite interesting. I think I need more help than that, though.

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