Phil Friedman

7 years ago · 5 min. reading time · ~100 ·

Phil blog
Why Management Doesn't Get Bad News Until It's Too Late

Why Management Doesn't Get Bad News Until It's Too Late


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Small Business Primer - IX


Phil Friedman

5 years ago #14

Thank you, Larry, for sharing this piece. Problems are like past due bills: the longer you wait to deal with them, the harder it gets to.remediate the matter. A manager who makes it clear he or she wants to hear only good news soon finds him- or herself standing alone, wondering why the lights are off. Cheers!

Larry Boyer

5 years ago #13

Leaders need to foster an environment where staff can share bad news so it can be addressed.

Larry Boyer

5 years ago #12

You've summed it so well Phil Friedman. It's up to a leader to foster an environment where bad news can be shared.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #11

Thank you, Gert Scholtz, for reading and for the kind words. As a manager, if you take credit for the accomplishments of your team, you also have to take responsibilities for its problems. And if you want your team to watch your back, you have to cover their butts as well -- certainly, at least to the extent of treating them fairly and not punishing those who have the gumption to bring developing problems to your attention. Cheers!

Gert Scholtz

5 years ago #10

Phil Friedman This is a great post Phil. You highlight what I think is a very important point of departure when problems arise - not to shoot the messenger and to see it as "our" problem which will be addressed and solved jointly.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #9

Thank you for stirring and sharing this one again., Franci. I think it's one of the most important pieces I've ever done on business.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #8

Thank you, Claire, for the kind words. The ironic thing about shoot-the-messenger bosses is that they discourage the people around them from trying to keep them out of trouble. As counter-productive as anything I've seen in business. Cheers!

Wayne Yoshida

6 years ago #7

Yes. George Santayana said those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

Wayne Yoshida

6 years ago #6

Phil - exactly. It is important to know most customers (or maybe 90 to 99 percent) are "OK" with delays and mistakes, since we are all humans and these things happen. But always have something in place to fix the issue, provide status reports before the customer asks, and satisfy the customer in the end.

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #5

#2 You know, guys, it's ironic that Kevin mentions LBJ in this context. Because it was bad information fed back or lack of good information that sucked LBJ into the Vietnam war to begin with. And why the conflict continued for so many years and at such a high cost in blood on both sides, as first LBJ, then RMN were led to believe that "victory" was just around corner. The parallels are stunning. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #4

Thanks, Wayne, for reading and sharing this. And for the kind words. You are correct that it isn't so much that mistakes get made and problems rise up (for that is part of life) but really a matter of how we deal with them. And without honest information being fed back to upper-level execs, the battle is lost. Cheers!

Phil Friedman

6 years ago #3

Thanks, Kevin, for reading and sharing. It's too easy, I think, to blame line managers and workers for the failure to communicate bad news up the information pipeline. And if bad news isn't reaching the exec level timely, it is very often the fault of the executives involved and the atmosphere they create. Cheers!

Wayne Yoshida

6 years ago #2

Excellent, Phil Friedman -- above all -- the entire team must build trust. And trust comes from honesty. I worked at a place where everyone had good intentions, but only reported what they thought what we wanted to hear. This went as far as lying to management about how great things were going. And then something slips. And the lie is passed to the customer as defense to the cause of the delays and human mistakes. And we discover the lie much later. Poof. There goes the trust in the team forever. Very share-able advice for everyone and anyone.

Kevin Pashuk

6 years ago #1

This reminded me of an anecdote I heard years ago about the Presidency of LBJ during the Vietnam War. Apparently he did not react very well to bad news, so those 'messengers' took it upon themselves to not deliver any (until it was too late). As a leader, our reaction to bad news is as important as what we do about the situation. Another great post Phil.

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