Clearing The Air: Delivering Bad News
Dive into this topic with the following exercise, then read the key concepts below it:
If you need to clear the air by delivering bad news before you can get back into a productive collaboration, use the ABES framework
A for Acknowledge: Start your conversation by telling the person you’re about to deliver some bad news. Don’t surprise them halfway through a conversation.
B is for Band-Aid: After telling them that bad news is coming, rip the band-aid off by giving them the summary of the bad news first. Again, don’t make them guess, and don’t drag out the pain.
E is for Explain: After you’ve given the headline, explain the rationale.
S is for Space: People react to bad news in different ways. Don’t put the person in a position of having to later be embarrassed for their on-the-spot reaction to something unpleasant. Give them the opportunity to process, and suggest a second conversation to discuss questions or feedback, if they would like it.