One of the most difficult aspects of being a leader is having to deliver bad news to your team. Bad news can come in many forms such as firing an employee, explaining some type of large mistake that happened within the company, or letting your team know that the company isn’t doing very well. Having to confront these types of situations tends to make most people run and hide, but it’s something that is inescapable for most leaders. Being able to properly navigate these situations is a sign that you are a good leader, no matter how frightening it might be, but there are still many leaders that manage to mess it up. So how does a great leader go about delivering bad news?

Don’t Hide Anything

One of the worst things you can do when giving bad news as a leader is to leave out important details. Transparency is one of the best ways to ensure your team members trust you when something bad happens in the company, or when an employee is having performance issues. If you choose to leave out important information or you choose to completely ignore a bad situation and keep it to yourself and higher-ups, it’ll likely still find its way out to the team eventually and cause even larger problems.

Take Responsibility

Another thing to avoid when delivering bad news is blaming people or groups that aren’t at fault. When running a company or leading a team, the leader should always take the blame for what has happened, even if it wasn’t directly their fault. This shows that they are confident and courageous enough to admit that they made a mistake. The bad situation happened under your direction, so it’s imperative that you address this.

Share Your Plan

If there’s already some sort of plan created in order to rectify the situation then it’s best that you share that with the team while giving them the bad news. It shows that you and whoever else is involved are already on the case and making sure that things don’t get worse or that mistakes don’t happen again. Once you’ve shared your plan with the team, it’s also smart to invite employees or team members to refine the plan or to add anything they think might help. This allows everyone to come together to tackle the problem and can give team members more security in the issue.

This article was originally published on

Published by Dr Adrian Cohen

Dr. Adrian Cohen MB, BS is an expert in trauma and emergency medicine, as well as in business and leadership. He is a proud author, innovator, and Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the School of Clinical Ophthalmology within the Department of Medicine at the University of Sydney in Australia. For over three decades, Dr. Adrian Cohen has been recognized for his work and innovation on numerous occasions and has been featured on television networks and programs like “Oprah”. He is the current founder and CEO of Nurochek by Headsafe. Dr. Adrian Cohen continues to leverage his knowledge and years of experience to help others in a variety of capacities. For more information visit Dr. Adrian Cohen’s website.

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