Two Quick Thoughts: “I have some bad news to share”

Posted by Charley Hughes on Aug 26, 2015 12:46 PM


“I have some bad news to share”.

In the consulting business I have worked for only two organizations and yet a number of different supervisors.  Most were fine managers, but a few were terrific leaders.    In your mind you are probably already mentally categorizing the people you have worked for into camps of those who were managers versus those who were leaders.

Today I’d like to share a couple of gems two leaders I have had the privilege to work for shared with me.  One is new, and the other is familiar but with a twist.

“If you can’t share bad news with me, we don’t have a relationship”.

One of my mentors in the consulting business midway thru my career shared this with me when I was transferred to their management ranks as a manager under them.  The message of that gem stuck with me.   Good leaders know that every day is not always “good”.  

Your leadership wants and expects that when something is off the rails, you will not hold your cards so close to the vest that things get worse.   But, how do you raise your hand for help without worrying that you are sacrificing their confidence in you?  The answer is found in the twist of today’s second gem.

“Don’t bring me a problem without at least some suggestion for a solution”. 

This is not new wisdom.   We’ve all heard that you should always bring a solution to management rather than merely the problem itself.  I would even suggest that you be prepared to offer a “good”, “better”, and “best” range of possible solutions for your leadership to consider and help you sort through. 

Here is the twist.  Soliciting the aid of your leadership by presenting solutions rather than merely defining the problem, goes hand in hand with the first point.   Relationship.   If you want to be able to bring bad news to leadership without the fear of eroding their confidence in your abilities, don’t overlook the status of your working relationship. 

Have you made intentional “deposits” into that relationship in terms of your;  (1) Attitude,  (2) Effort, and (3) Integrity?   If you have it will make the inevitable “withdrawals” in the form of requests for help less stressful for you both.  Just make sure you are making those deposits into the relationship regularly, not just around times of crisis.

I am fortunate to work with a tremendous group of people at REMEDI who give thought to the importance of relationships on a daily basis.     If we can help you formulate suggestions of good, better, and best solutions to nagging or critical problems within your EDI and Integration environment give us a call.    We’d be happy to help.

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