How to Deliver A Difficult Message to Employees a Bit Less Painful

Delivering difficult messages to employees can be challenging, especially in today’s distributed workforce. However, tough conversations are often the most memorable and can significantly impact morale.

To make these discussions a bit less painful, follow these strategic steps to effectively communicate with your team.

Understand the Problem: Before addressing your team, identify the issue at hand. This could be related to poor business results, staffing changes, undesired behaviors, or policy changes that might be controversial. Understanding the problem is crucial in preparing a clear and concise message.

Determine the Desired Outcome: Consider the goals you want to achieve by delivering the message. You might need to contextualize business news, explain ongoing changes, or encourage specific behaviors among your staff. Defining your desired outcome will guide your communication approach.

Identify Your Audience: Decide who needs to hear the message. It could be your entire staff, a small group of directly impacted employees, or even just one person. Determine whether everyone should hear the news simultaneously or if some individuals need to be informed first. Consider the ripple effect of the news, with directly involved employees as the inner circle and indirectly impacted staff as the outer circles.

Structure Your Key Messages: Plan your conversation, focusing on what you want your audience to think, feel, and do. Develop a calm, constructive approach to convey your concerns and provide context for the decision. Anticipate potential questions and prepare stories or examples to illustrate your main points. Outline specific actions and associated timing for employees to follow.

Choose the Right Time and Place: Select an appropriate setting for the conversation, ensuring privacy and minimal distractions. Encourage dialogue to gain real-time insight into how employees are receiving the information and gauge their understanding. Be mindful of employees’ other commitments and adjust, if possible, to give them time to process the difficult message.

Follow Up: After delivering the news, follow up with your employees through individual and group meetings. Offer set times for further discussions, answer questions, and address any concerns they may have.

In conclusion, delivering difficult messages to employees is an inevitable part of leadership. By following these steps, you can make the process less painful and more productive. Remember, as a leader, it’s essential to “lead from within” and demonstrate genuine care and understanding for your team members during challenging times.

Lead From Within: Address difficult conversations with empathy and strategy to guide your team through challenging times.


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What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

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