Bad News Is Received Best…..

I received some great news from my doctor today. Two weeks ago I had surgery and was blessed to receive a good report. Since positive news was being shared, there was also some quality humor as well. He said many things but one was “I’m just the messenger!”

This got me to thinking. When receiving bad news, is there a way to make its delivery as easy as possible. If you are one day forced into a position of being the “messenger”, the following are some things to remember that will make your life (and theirs) easier:

  1. Bad news is received best when delivered in the context of relationship. My doctor has been a personal friend for over 15 years. Back in the 90s, he was a mentor to me in the area of marriage. There is trust there.
  2. Bad news is received best when delivered with a foundation of competence. My doctor is an expert in his field. He is highly sought after and extremely busy. Regardless of the news, there was not going to be a 2nd opinion. When you deliver a tough message, do others feel the need to get another opinion from someone else?
  3. Bad news is received best when an investment has previously been made in you by the one giving the news. When deposits have continually been made by someone in my life, then there is something there for them to withdraw.
  4. Bad news is received best when given in a timely fashion. My doctor didn’t let me wait. When dealing with an issue, deliver it succinctly and in a straightforward manner.
  5. Bad news is received best when its accompanied by its twin brother Options. If the news would have been bad, I would have asked for a treatment plan. This I know, my doctor would have had several for me to consider. Hopelessness sets in when a person feels they have no place to turn.

I’m privileged to have my doctor as a medical care professional as well as a friend. He’s used to delivering messages, both good and bad. When the time comes for you to share a message that will be tough to hear (especially you fellow parents), please remember these five points. You’ll be glad you did….and so will they.


About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

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