Monday, June 22, 2015

Message v. Messenger

You’ve likely heard the old saying “don’t shoot the messenger.” There is historical precedent for this saying because at one time, if the messenger delivered bad news, they were likely to be executed. This is, to say the least, irrational. The messenger was only delivering a message from someone else. Yet, even today, we have a tendency to take out the bad news we don’t want to hear on the person who delivers it.

What we should do instead is thank the messenger. They are delivering to us something we need to know. As long as we know about it, there is a chance we can do something to fix it. However, if the bad news remains in a dark corner, we are powerless to take action.

How do you handle bad news? Does your organization metaphorically shoot the messenger?