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Good Leaders Deliver Bad News; Bad Leaders Avoid It At All Costs

We all know that being a business leader is no easy feat, having to wear multiple hats at one go – HR, Finance, Strategy, Operations. The list goes one. At the same time, there are numerous ways to groom a business leader to one that can lead the organisation towards growth and success. However, a good business leader will ensure the continued success and growth of the organisation and this is where the problem lies.

There are no concrete rules to “train” a successor to become a good business leader. However, there are some fundamental principles that every business leader adheres to, and that is the ability to communicate a situation to the employees.

According to Patty Azzarella, the youngest general manager in Hewlett Packard (HP) at the age of 33, ” a strong leader will always show up and will always communicate no matter what the situation, good or bad. When people are worried, uncertain, or there is bad news, good leaders communicate more, not less.”

As simple as this principle may sound, there are in fact numerous business leaders that have surprisingly made it to the top without even believing in this core principle of a good business leader.

Good leaders always avoid “managerial avoidance”

Ever wondered why your manager is constantly on leave the same time that he or she has to tell an employee that it is time for time to go? Or perhaps feeling peeved that your manager has to take “urgent leave” when it is time for a major presentation to clients or senior management? Such leaders are also known as “ghost bosses” – leaders who rarely communicates with the employees and are seemingly never around.

Good leaders will always avoid “managerial avoidance” and will always be around to take on major responsibilities, be it good or bad.

The power when a leader steps up and communicate

Good business leaders are those who are about to step up and communicate with their employees. By being constantly around regardless of whether it is a positive or negative situation, it signals to employees that their leader is willing to stand by his or her employees throughout the good and bad times. At the same time, communicating regularly with employees is the most powerful tool as it builds a trusting relationship between the leader and his or her employees.

As Patti mentioned in her book How Good Leaders Share Bad News, “choosing to avoid an awkward, difficult communication may seem more comfortable in the moment, but it always causes more worry and stress for everyone involved.”

Good leaders are aware that stepping out and communicating both good and bad news to their employees will always be part of their job. Bad leaders, on the other hand, will always find means to avoid dealing with bad news at all costs.

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