Today, I had to tell someone that something he had suggested was a bad idea. It was not easy but it had to be done.
I often wonder, "Why do some people find it difficult to tell someone else, especially their bosses, that something is a bad idea?"
And this question has left me with some answers about such people:
- they are afraid of being scolded by their bosses.
- they do not wish to be written off or have their promotion or increment held back.
- they need the job more than the job needs them.
- they lack integrity.
- they have killed their conscience.
- they do not wish to be labelled negative.
But then, all these reasons cannot explain some people just get away by saying something is a bad idea, especially if these people are not the favourites of the bosses or the best performers in an organisation.
The "secret" really is in how you convey your sentiment.
If you want to disagree with an idea, it is useful to first state what you feel are the advantages. After that, state the disadvantages. Finally, weigh the advantages & disadvantages, and tell the person why you think his idea is bad.
More often than not, I have found that the other person will accept this. This is because it shows to the person that you have thought about his idea and reached an informed conclusion about it.
My boss tells me that there is also another "secret" way to tell someone bad news. If you want to give someone bad news, tell the person first that you need a few days to think about it. After a few days, come back and tell the person that you have looked into it, explain and give the person the bad news. The person is more likely to accept the bad news since it will indicate to him that you have taken some time to think about it.
I find it hard to respect a person who finds it difficult to tell someone else that something is a bad idea.