The interviewer is interested in knowing your leadership and management style when it comes to delivering less than pleasant news. Some people have trouble facilitating difficult conversations, so it's essential that you display your ability to be uncomfortable while maintaining a position of authority. Give an example of a time when you had a challenging conversation and explain how you were able to deliver the news professionally.
"I don't believe anyone enjoys delivering bad news; however, as a leader, it is part of what I need to do - sometimes on a weekly or even daily basis. When I have news to share that I know will disappoint someone, I will sit down with them, one-on-one, and express that I know how much the situation meant to them. I will then highlight to my team member what they did very well, and make a plan with them to either try again or come up with an alternate plan."
"Before I deliver bad news, I like to prepare my self for every possible reaction from the person to whom I am delivering the news. I will make sure to have a reply ready for someone who reacts angrily, someone who becomes emotional, and someone who may have a 'cold' reaction. By having a variety of 'conversations' prepared, I can enter an uncomfortable conversation with confidence."
"I learned early on in my management career that you should never joke around or make light of a situation when you are delivering unpleasant news. When I need to have an uncomfortable conversation, I approach the situation as though it were me receiving the news. I am kind, patient, and understanding of their reaction."
"It's important to remember when delivering bad news, that you are having a conversation with someone. I directly deliver the news and then allow the team member to speak their mind. They can vent, and get everything off their chest, before they return to their desk. If the situation is dire, I will invite them to go for a walk to the coffee shop down the road to get some fresh air and blow off some steam."
"When delivering bad news, I make sure to give it to the person straight, and never beat around the bush. That's as bad as receiving the 'We need to talk' text from your significant other. I will talk to the person as soon as possible, and fill them in on the situation. I am always empathetic in my delivery."
"Salespeople are often very specific personality types which means they want detail and as much information as possible. When I have to deliver unsavory news, I will avoid being vague. This approach means collecting as much data as possible before having the conversation. If someone missed their monthly target, for instance, I would sit them down with the monthly numbers and analytics so they can create a vision of where things went awry. We can then make a plan of action together to avoid the situation from repeating itself."
"As an educator, I approach all difficult conversations with the utmost empathy. I know that no student goes out and tries to fail. Everyone wants to succeed it's just that some people may not know how to do that. I will deliver the bad news, an 'F' grade, for example, and then sit down to make a plan with the student on how we can avoid that from happening again. Before ending the conversation, I will give the student one example of what I enjoy or like about them. I aim to always leave a conversation with a student on an encouraging note."