Probably the single most important skill I've picked up over the last few years is how to be good at taking bad news. This single skill has reduced my workplace stress, made me a more effective manager, and kept me more focused on major projects thhen temporary distractions. While I'm still perfecting this skill, here are some thing I do to improve my ability to take bad news:
Take a Minute to Process
Chances are that if you're hearing a bit of bad news that it's unexpected. The 5 minutes after hearing the news will completely set the tone for how you handle the situation. So, take a moment to breathe, process the info, and ask questions for more detail.
If you can do something about it, don't worry about it.
If it's something that is within your power to fix, find comfort in that simple fact. While you may not have a solution right away, knowing you'll eventually find one can provide immediate calm.
If you can't do something about it, don't worry about it!
If it's something you can't control, you've got a choice here: You can let it completely ruin your day or work process, or you can suck it up and keep going. Don't waste your time worrying about something you can't control.
Be the Calm
Your team is going to look at you for leadership during crisis, so it's important to broadcast a calm demeanor and avoid causing alarm or stirring the pot. The second your team sees you complain, the second that it becomes part of the culture.
Work it Backwards
If it's a problem that can be solved, take a methodical approach and avoid jumping to gut conclusions. Work it slowly and from a perspective of future prevention.
By becoming a better handler of difficult news you'll be able to keep your team running smoothly and reduce your own stress levels
What do you do to take bad news well?