It would be nice to deal with only positivity, but life is about dealing with both positive and negative.  Just as a car battery, we need positive and negative to move forward in life.

As leaders, we have to take the good with the bad.  It’s easier said than done, but leaders show the stuff they are made of when the going gets tough.  It was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said,

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” 

It’s fun seeing growth and change in the people you are leading, but how do you approach delivering difficult information that has the ability to help grow and change your followers.

As with anything else in life, there is an art to communicating difficult messages.

How many times have we heard difficult messages delivered with carelessness or harshness?  How do you feel when difficult messages are delivered carelessly to you?

I would like to share a few tips to help you communicate difficult messages.  If you are able to communicate difficult messages the right way, you will solidify sound character and booster your leadership.

1. State the facts.  Transparency is key.  How many times have you seen a leader promise something, but only to find out that it is a lie?  No matter the level of difficulty, we as leaders have a responsibility to tell the truth.  That is one of the reasons why we lead.  We are never afraid to stand up for what’s right.

When I was a little boy my mother said something to me that I tell my boys even to this day.  She said, “Always tell the truth.”  Whether it was bad or good, she always told me those words and it just became part of who I am.  Leaders are men and women of integrity.

2. Give a holistic view.  When communicating difficult messages, it is important to disclose the big picture.  It is always hard to accept any difficult news.  However, it is that much harder to receive difficult messages with limited information.

3. Keep it brief.  If you love to talk, this can be a hard tip.  If we spend too much time communicating a difficult message, we do two things: 1) We worry those we receiving the difficult message and 2) We lose our validity as a leader.  Why?  The reason for number one is quite obvious.  The reason why we lose validity as a leader when we aren’t brief is because it demonstrates lack of faith, vision, and courage as a leader.

4. Discuss solutions versus faults.  You want to keep it brief, but make sure most of your communication is about solutions.

How many times have we heard and seen people searching for someone to blame when things go wrong?  Instead search for solutions.  Blaming someone or focusing on your faults will not help solve your problems, so focus on solutions and not finding faults.

The next time it is time to communicate a difficult message, don’t be afraid.  Use these tips and take your leadership to the next level.

Question: How have you handle communicating difficult messages?

Peace and Prosperity,

Bryant Hall

MTN Universal, LLC

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