Bad News Doesn’t Get Better With Age
by Tony Yost
This is another truism from “The Book of Tim“.
Let’s say you are working on a project and “something bad” happens. Should you keep it to yourself and wait and see if your boss or the customer finds out about it? There’s nothing you can do about it anyway, why be the messenger of bad news?
Well, first of all, it shows your leadership skills and acceptance of responsibility when you let the appropriate people know. You gain respect.
Second of all, it gives everyone time to try and see what can be done to minimize the damage. (Just ask any military officer about that one).
Another example… due to some unforeseen issues, your project is not going to be ready by the scheduled due date. Should you tell your customer or just wait for the due date hoping some miracle will happen?
If you said “just wait”… well, how’s that been working out for you? Still waiting for those miracles? Most likely, the due date came, everyone worked crazy hours, and either the project was delivered with lower quality which will make you look bad for a long time, or the project was still not done and everyone is now demoralized. And that leaves the customer trying to explain to his boss what happened.
If you let the customer (or your boss) know the facts as soon as you are sure of them, you are a whole lot more likely to have a better outcome. And more respect.