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When Bad News Hits: 8 Ways To Lessen Your Employees’ Panic

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Anyone who’s ever gotten one of those email alerts for a “company-wide meeting today at 4 – mandatory” knows the feeling of dread in the pit of the stomach.

You know there’s news, and it’s probably bad news.

And you can tell from the scared-rabbit looks on your employees’ faces that you’re going to have to cope with the panicked fall-out.

Situations like this are inevitable. But we can go into them prepared by adopting some strategies to get our teams through the bad news.

Here are 8 ways to lessen the pain (and the drama that often follows):

1) Let Them Complain – A Little

There’s no use rehashing the bad news over and over if nothing can change it. The only thing that can change is your team’s outlook.

Say the company announced a hiring freeze – and you know your staff already feels overworked. Their frustration levels are probably sky-high at this point, so allowing them to vocalize can at least ease some of the tension.

Listen to their concerns and don’t belittle them.

Acknowledge that the news doesn’t help, but remind them to take a realistic view of the situation: “We’ve been down this road, and we’re making do with fewer people pretty well for now. But I get your frustration.”

Just an acknowledgment of their angst can help defuse it.

2) Paint The Big Picture

Getting your team to honestly consider the impact the situation has on them can dispel concerns. It helps them understand on a practical level what the news really means for them and that it might not be as bad as they think.

As in the above example, get them to ask some questions:

  • Are there ways we can help each other work better together?
  • What’s worked in the past when we had staffing shortages?
  • What can we change or do now since we know we won’t get more staff?

Offer ideas about how to turn the situation around, or at least minimize any damage.

Read On….

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