When to Share Bad News

  • Share
  • Read Later

When you’re privy to information that your team isn’t, should you share the news or protect your employees? When deciding whether to divulge bad news, do these things first:

  • Know your tendency. We all have a preferred approach when it comes to privacy. Some keep things quiet, while others are more open. Understand your bias and find a middle ground.
  • Question your motives. Whether you’re eager to share news or resisting a conversation, question your motives. Are you feeling guilty about harboring information? Are you afraid of people getting angry?
  • Tend toward transparency. Lean toward transparency if possible. As long as you’re not violating company policy, give your team the bad news — especially if it’s going to impact their work.

Adapted from “When to Share Sensitive Information with Your Team” by Amy Gallo.

Visit Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip homepage

Purchase the HBR Management Tips book