How To Tell Your Boss Bad News – 25 Tips To Follow

Written By Shahzaib Arshad

It’s time to tell your boss the bad news you have held until now. Let’s learn how to tell your boss bad news.

We hope the bad news is too bad. Today you will learn the tips to tell the bad news to your boss in the most effective way.

How To Tell Your Boss Bad News – 25 Doable Tips

Telling a piece of bad news can be overwhelming because you don’t know how the other person might react. Now let’s learn about how to build up to it!

Telling your boss bad news can be very intimidating. Therefore, be very careful with it. Here are 15 tips to tell your boss terrible news:

1. Find The Right Time And Place:

The first thing you need to do is choose a time and place where your boss won’t feel too stressed out.

how to tell your boss bad news

Find a time when they are not rushing or busy with other people, like after work or lunch. Also, it is essential to choose someplace quiet and calm, where you two can talk in peace.

2. Be Ready For Their Reaction:

Be prepared for how they might respond and practice what you will say beforehand.

Make sure that your boss doesn’t get too stressed out or anxious about the news.

You don’t want them to feel like they’re drowning; therefore, be aware of their body language. Moreover, make sure to take responsibility for the news you are about to tell.

3. How To Tell Your Boss Bad News – Be Clear And Direct:

You should lay it straight and be direct with your message, don’t beat around the bush.

Your boss will appreciate that you are straightforward with them. Do not exaggerate or lie about it if you have bad news.

4. Stay Calm:

When telling your boss bad news, talk slowly and remain calm.

They mustn’t get stressed out or anxious about the information you’re giving them. Also, please do not raise your voice because it will only scare your boss more.

5. How To Tell Your Boss Bad News – Be Honest:

Be honest and give factual information about the bad news you give them. Give out all details that would help your boss understand the situation better.

establish conversation

It is also essential to let your boss know if you had any problems with what happened. Let them know if it was because of external factors like:

– Weather conditions or

– Customer behavior

6. Listen To Them:

Let them talk and listen to what they say without interrupting them.

You want to make your boss feel comfortable enough before anything else happens. Therefore, listen to them first.

7. How To Tell Your Boss Bad News – Take Responsibility:

Take responsibility for everything that has transpired. However, do so for things within your control.

You don’t want them to think you are trying to push your responsibilities away. Make sure they understand why you are telling this.

8. It’s Not All About You:

They need to know that your priority is their reaction and well-being.

The bad news you are about to tell them isn’t about how it will affect you and what you can do, so don’t start this off with:

“This won’t affect me” or “I can handle this.”

9. Be Open To Suggestions:

Be open to suggestions and any ideas that your boss has. Please don’t be stubborn about anything.

You may have difficulty convincing them otherwise. If they have an idea, always be ready to consider it seriously.

10. Make Them Feel In Control:

It would help if you tried to make your boss feel in control of what happens next. It will ease their stress level.

bosses want to be in control

The more you get across the message that you are going through this together, the better for everyone.

11. How To Tell Your Boss Bad News – Offer A Timeline:

Offer a timeline of when certain things will happen. After this conversation, there should be no confusion on what moves next or who does what.

It can help them feel more in control of what is going on. Therefore, be as specific as possible and try to stick to the timeline you’ve given your boss.

12. Remember Your Boss Is Human Too:

Remember that it’s ok to be human; they’re not computers who don’t get affected by this sort of thing.

Please don’t treat them like objects. It will make you seem like you are putting all the responsibility on them. Be honest with your boss, and everyone around you will enjoy it.

13. How To Tell Your Boss Bad News – Offer To Help:

Don’t be afraid to offer it if you can help your boss with anything. They will appreciate the gesture and might ask for your help if necessary.

Moreover, make sure they understand that your help is there whenever they need it. Also, do not expect anything in return because you offered to help.

14. Be As Transparent As Possible:

Be as transparent as possible with what is going on to keep the lines of communication open.

being biased

Keep them updated if any changes in your timeline or progress to feel like they are always in the loop.

15. Get Feedback:

Make sure you ask for feedback after telling your boss bad news. It will help you improve for future reference.

Always try to improve yourself or what you are doing for them to make things easier in the future.

16. Don’t Take It Personally:

Treat this as a professional task, and don’t take personal grievances with your boss.

It is essential to maintain a good rapport because you never know when you’ll need them again.

17. How To Tell Your Boss Bad News – Have A Plan:

You can’t tell your boss terrible news and then leave. You have to have at least a plan of what will happen after this conversation ends.

Otherwise, it will upset and confuse your boss. Also, you don’t want them to think you can’t handle things.

18. Be Ready For The Worst:

Be prepared for the worst possible outcome. Give your boss the best chance to make their own decisions.

They might not like what you have to say, but they should be able to assume that you will do whatever you need to do.

19. How To Tell Your Boss Bad News – Be Accurate:

You don’t want to tell your boss terrible news and not follow through with it. Make sure you are as accurate as possible when describing them.

weak people

If they don’t believe that you did your best, it will break the trust between you.

20. Don’t Neglect Yourself:

Don’t neglect yourself when giving feedback to your boss after telling them the bad news.

They might be more focused on what’s going on with their company than your well-being. Therefore, make sure you take care of yourself.

It’s a good idea to have another source of income or at least some savings for emergencies.

21. How You Tell Them Matters:

How you tell them can matter a lot because it can determine how they take it.

Try to be calm and straightforward with what you are saying. Make things easier for everyone involved.

Do not panic or act like everything is over; your boss knows that this isn’t the end of the world.

Also, keep in mind that they don’t want you to mope around either.

22. How To Tell Your Boss Bad News – Don’t Panic:

Panicking is never a good idea when talking to your boss about bad news.

You don’t want them to think you are acting like an amateur. However, we know this is not something that anyone can handle easily.

23. Let Them Know Your Actions:

Let them know what actions you plan to take after this conversation has ended.

solve problem to tell your boss bad news

It will help them feel more in control of what is going on and make you look like an expert.

You don’t want them to think you’re some incompetent person who can’t handle things. They need to know that their faith in you is not misplaced.

24. Talk With Your Boss In Advance:

Always talk with your boss in advance about any bad news instead of dropping it on them unexpectedly.

This way, they can prepare themselves and plan to fix things. They can try to make the situation better for everyone involved.

25. Finish The Conversation:

Once your boss has talked and said their piece, it’s time for you to summarize everything.

You can end the conversation by letting them know that someone can handle this issue if they’d rather not.

That way, they don’t have to feel like it’s their responsibility. They will know that someone will take care of it.


Being honest and straightforward with your boss is the best way to keep them and yourself happy.

If you can get more of their trust by following these steps, then it will be beneficial for both of you in the long run.

Anyone who has ever had a bad boss knows that they can be challenging to deal with at times. Keeping these tips in mind should make things go a lot smoother for everyone involved.

Knowing how to tell your boss terrible news is essential. Remember that plenty of resources can help you through this tough time, so use them if you need them.

Last Updated on 2 years by Shahzaib Arshad

Shahzaib Arshad
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