Whether you’re delivering good news or bad news, you can go about it gracefully or not. This rings true no matter what announcement you have to make to your team or to an individual; as a mindful leader, part of your job is good spoken communication, especially when you have to address many people at the same time or deliver bad news, such as someone being let go. But how can you make sure you’re doing your best to communicate well? Here are a few tips with mindfulness in mind.
There’s a lot to be said for nuances such as tactfulness and subtlety. However, these small aspects may not be noticeable without a certain degree of self-awareness and mindfulness already present. Also, some news is sensitive or difficult to divulge, so how do you best handle that as a mindful leader?
Being Honest When it’s Difficult
Sometimes the news, announcement, or conversation you have to have is not one that you’re looking forward to. Whether this is because of what you have to tell this person or how you have to tell them doesn’t matter; a difficult conversation is a difficult conversation. Use these pointers to maintain your courage and remind yourself of the bigger picture; the greater good.
· Take a deep breath and maintain your calm. Reactions can be unpredictable, and your staying calm will encourage the other person to handle the news gracefully, whatever it is.
· Be sensitive to this person’s needs. Even if you can’t meet them, you can be understanding of them.
· Respect their privacy and deliver whatever news you need to in private. Never confront someone in front of their coworkers as this decreases employees’ respect for you and damages their trust in you as well.
· Be patient. You may be waiting for the right opportunity to tell someone something; that’s okay, but make sure you’re not falling into a habit of procrastination because you’re losing your nerve to tell them the truth.
· Follow through. Again, don’t fall into the trap of procrastination and make it a habit; the sooner you can deliver the news, the better, and everyone will then be able to move on.
If you need to make an uncomfortable announcement to the entire office staff, there are a few things that you should remember as you go about planning your wording.
· Be direct but gentle. A difficult truth is much easier to accept if the person telling you this truth uses some sensitivity and empathy. Be honest and loving at the same time.
· Keep things as simple as possible, on a need to know basis, so to speak. If people have further questions or need more details, instruct them to email you with questions or speak to you directly.
· If comfort is needed, don’t forget to provide it. Receiving bad news is much easier if leadership makes it a point to be supportive. This may mean having a therapist on staff for a few months to help people, depending on the situation.
· Encourage everyone to be supportive of one another and work together during difficult times. This fosters a supportive work environment that will serve everyone well for years to come.
· Prepare for people to be a little off balance for a while. Depending on the severity of the news and how everything is affected, this may take differing amounts of time.
As always, continue leading mindfully!
For more information on the Mindfulness Movement and the International Mindfulness Federation, please visit: