MORE ON CAREERADDICT

How to Spin Bad News at Work

Delivering bad news at work does not have to be stressful; you only need to prepare both mentally and emotionally…These are the steps you need to take.

Much to our dismay, there come times at work when it’s necessary to present our boss, team members or even our clients with bad news. Being the bearer of bad news is not a role you want to have too often, but if you play your cards right, you can put a positive spin even on the worst news.

See Also: How to Avoid Communication Problems With Your Boss


It’s essential to be honest of course; especially if you are delivering bad news to your boss, but that’s not to say that you can’t still find a silver-lining and present it along with the bad news to your boss. In fact, it’s advisable to come up with a strategy on how to fix things before presenting anyone with bad news.

To help you out with this unpleasant situation we’ve come up with a comprehensive guide that will help you spin bad news at work and come out looking good. Go through it and let us know if you’ve ever done any of these things when having to deliver bad news.

1. Do Your Research

woman at work
shutterstock

Being the bearer of bad news means that you also need to take some responsibility for the news you are delivering. Whether what’s happened is your fault or not it doesn’t matter because if you have to give the bad news, it means that somehow you were responsible for overseeing the project that went to bits.

As such, it’s important to do your research and understand what went wrong, how it went wrong and why it went wrong. This will help you get a better picture of the situation which will enable you to be more confident when you are delivering the bad news.

Get the dates and create a timeline that will help you pinpoint exactly the moment when things started going awry.

2. Use the Appropriate Vocabulary

team meeting
shutterstock

It’s important to understand that sometimes things can be as bad as we make them sound which means that you hold the power over how things will be perceived. Choosing the appropriate vocabulary can help you downplay negative aspects of the issue, and it can help contain your audience’s potential rage.

So for example, if you need to say that the clients are angry don’t say that. Say that the clients are not pleased. Words are powerful things, and your choice of words can affect your audience’s reaction so no matter how bad the news is so long as you downplay it things can turn out better than you might have expected.

3. Suggest Solutions

team meeting
shutterstock

No matter what went wrong, it’s important to present some suggestions on to how it can be fixed or, at least, some steps that need to be taken to redeem the situation. Doing so will help balance things out.

Remember that a problem remains a problem so long as there are no solutions to the situation. Therefore, by presenting various options as to how the situation can be dealt with you can minimise the negative aspects of the whole thing.

Even if there’s no way to fix what went wrong, you can still come up with solutions that will help you avoid similar situations in the future. It’s essential that aside from being the bad news bearer, you are also the problem solver.

Delivering bad news at work can be a thoroughly unpleasant experience, but as long as you put a positive spin on things the whole situation can turn out quite ok for you.

Have you ever used any of the methods mentioned above?What happened? Your thoughts and comments below please...