When Bosses Should, and Shouldn't, Speak

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What gets said is certainly important, but who says it can make a bigger difference to the people who matter most–your employees. So, who should do the talking? Here's how to decide:

When there's good news, it's never you. OK, maybe you really did do all the work. Maybe you really did overcome every obstacle. Maybe without you, that high-performance team would have been anything but. Maybe you really were the hero. It doesn't matter. Give someone else the glory. Pick a key subordinate who played a major role. Pick a person who could use a confidence boost from a healthy dose of public appreciation. Everyone already knows you were in charge, so celebrate the accomplishment through other people. Stand back and let your employees shine. 

When there's bad news, it's always you. It doesn't matter if a supplier made the mistake. It doesn't matter if a key investor backed out. It doesn't matter if forces beyond your control negatively affected your business. When you're in charge, you must always deliver bad news. To your employees, to your team, to customers and clients, you are the company. Support the decisions of your partners, even if you privately disagree. Answer tough questions. Take responsibility. Model the behavior you want your employees to display.

When there's no news, no one speaks. Everyone hates a useless meeting–except, of course, the person who called the meeting. Everyone hates a meeting that kicks off with, "I know there isn't much for us to talk about, but I still thought it was important that we get together..." If a meeting will not result in decisions or plans or actions, cancel it. Let your employees do something productive instead. That way, the next time, you will have a reason to meet.

Source: Jeff Haden

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