minding your business When conversation is tough

Here are some ways to be a bearer of bad news and stillmaintain positive relationships.


n the role of a manager we are often the bearer of bad news— telling people what they do not want to hear. Add to the role of manager the role of parent, spouse or sibling and conversations around bad news can be extremely difficult in a family enterprise.

There are techniques that can be employed to assist in delivering the bad news, which comes out of the science of non-verbal communication. The major objective is to deliver this message and to preserve a positive working/relating relationship with the individuals who are about to receive it.

Before going into the conversation, ask yourself some questions and consider these points:

1. What is your purpose for having the conversation? What do you hope to accomplish? What will be the ideal outcome?

2. What assumptions are you making about the person(s) intentions? Even though you may be feeling terrible, disrespected, betrayed, ignored, or marginalized — don’t assume that how you are feeling is what was intended. Impact does not necessarily equal intent.

3. Honestly look at your attitude about having to have this conversation. Is your attitude influencing your perception? 4. Compile the facts. Prepare a visual with the factual information. If this conversation is taking place with a single per son, the information may be presented on a piece of paper. If the receiver of the bad news is a larger group, use a larger visual, such as a flip chart. 5. Our tendency is to want to tell what we know. If you tell the other person the bad news, it is obviously coming from you, which results in the

22 British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2017

bad news becoming associated with you. This puts you into a position that you want to avoid — being the bad news.

Plan the Delivery. Make sure to

set up the delivery of this message so that you are not holding the paper the message is on. Put the paper somewhere where you can point to it, and the two of you can look at it. If

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