Who loves delivering bad news to people who made mistakes and now must pay?
I’m sure there are some sadistic or masochistic people who love to do this, but not me. I am scared to give people bad news because I don’t want them to feel bad. Oh! And I don’t want to be seen as an asshole who must be to blame somehow.
I don’t want shit to come back on me! That’s it. If I piss people off by giving them bad news, holding them accountable, I am scared that my firmness will come back to haunt me. People will see me as blameworthy and retaliate!
Fear of retaliation.
Journaling template called Must Deliver Bad News to Someone Who Screwed Up to the rescue!
Onward and upward with the journal template that should help me thrash out my thoughts.
Who screwed up and under what circumstance?
A woman who wants an opportunity with our company screwed up by inviting a colleague that we don’t know to join the conversation. She isn’t a liar or cheat. She just invited her colleague in – a guy with relevant experience – but that we don’t know – at all.
We had offered to explore this opportunity with this woman we have known for a long time and would be a good fit. The discussion was just between us, however.
How is this a screw-up, specifically?
She invited her colleague into the fray without running it by us. We cannot move forward until many criteria are met because we don’t give opportunities to people we don’t know.
The screw up with not asking us if it would be ok to bring the colleague into the discussion, which seems appropriate.
What do you feel needs to be done now?
Must tell the woman who screwed up the bad news; that we aren’t interested in speaking with her colleague and that the deal is off – or at least subject to total reset – if the colleague is not sidelined.
Why don’t you want to do it?
Fear of retaliation. I didn’t think this was the case at the start of this article, but it is so. I don’t want this woman to be upset and start trash-talking my business. She could disagree on my interpretation of events, get pissed, and start flaming us online.
There are other considerations, such as this is all an innocent mistake. She didn’t mean anything by it and so forth. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, truly.
But retaliation – that fear is where the teeth are biting me. This is my self-sabotage.
What would happen if you avoided the issue?
Not an option. We’d end up completely ignoring company policy that ensures our biz is safe from inner conflict and people who don’t fit the culture.
Ignoring the issue would be inviting a potential disaster of epic proportions. Much better to risk the retaliation, which is unlikely to manifest.
How to move forward.
Deliver the bad news in a simple, respectful way and invite the conversation to continue, staying open to options.