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Public Relations, Topic of the Week COMM 2322

Communicating Bad News

You have a employee that you need to let go.  A certain worker is harassing others.  There’s that one slacker that’s always late to work.  Or maybe there’s that one employee that isn’t a bad person, but they simply can’t cut it.  There will be times when you need to communicate the words that no one wants to hear.  There is a right way and a wrong way to give an employee the pink slip.

“Pirate Unicycle”
Taken by frozenhaddock

There will be times in our lives when we will be forced to do things that make people awkward, uncomfortable, upset, and may potentially ruin friendships/relationships if not done right.  NewsU.org says going through a difficult conversation is like walking a tight rope.  You don’t want to put yourself in a bad place among the remaining employees if you don’t handle this right.  Talk to your boss (if you have one) and warn him/her about what you’re about to do, just in case there’s any backlash.

One mistake a lot of bosses make is that they air the dirty laundry in front of everybody.  Some bosses like to create an atmosphere of fear, thinking that it’ll motivate their employees to work harder.  They’ll confront a worker about an issue or even fire them right in the middle of the workplace.  Don’t be a jerk about it; take them into your office, get right to the point, and fire them.  The worst thing you could possibly do is a have a drawn-out conversation that has no real point and then after 5 minutes of pointless banter you finally put them our of their misery and fire them.  If they get angry, keep your cool.  If they cry, hand them a tissue and wait for them to cry it out before sending them off.

Firing someone doesn’t mean you have to drop the hammer and shatter their lives into a million pieces.  Let them keep their dignity, and by doing that you’ll earn the respect of all those around you eventually, even if you don’t see it right away.



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