Gracefully Deliver a Difficult Decision to Your Team…

It can be difficult to tell your employees about a tough decision that will negatively impact them. Whether you’ve decided to cancel a project or are conducting layoffs, here’s how to deliver tough news in an honest, respectful, and compassionate way. 

First, don’t bury the lead. When you make the announcement, state the news clearly and at the top of your message. Obscuring or sugarcoating it will only make the experience more difficult for your team. 

Next, after delivering the news, take a pause. Give your team a moment to digest what you just told them, and don’t ramble to fill the silence or avoid eye contact. Then, take responsibility. You could say something like, “I know this is a lot to take in and comes as a shock to many. I will take a few minutes to explain how we came to this decision. I don’t expect you to agree with our conclusion. But I owe you an explanation of how we got here.” 

Finally, take time to show empathy, acknowledging the impact of the decision and the emotions people might be feeling. Close with an invitation for both conversation and support.

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