While most of your interactions with your employees should be upbeat and positive, this won’t be true of all of them. There will come times when you’ll have to have conversations that are unpleasant and may upset your employee. This may involve informing an employee that someone else has been given a promotion they were counting on or telling someone they’re fired. In any similar situation, the following guide can help you.

Prepare for This Meeting
This isn’t a conversation you should have without some preparation. Plan what you’ll say in advance, and try to anticipate any questions the employee may have about the issue. If you can prepare answers for the most likely questions, you can ensure the meeting will move along more quickly. An unpleasant conversation isn’t something that should be prolonged, so it’s best to do what you can to speed it along.

Speak in a Straightforward Manner
While you may not like giving bad news, you won’t be helping anyone by beating around the bush. It’s better to be as direct as possible. This includes avoiding the use of flowery language that could lead to a misunderstanding. The employee should have some impression as to the topic of the conversation, so you shouldn’t expect the issue to be a surprise. If you speak in a straightforward manner, they can more quickly adapt to the news.

Offer Positive or Constructive Feedback
Once you have given the bad news, you can soften your demeanor a little if you choose. If this is a termination meeting, you might want to inform the individual about any method the company has for appealing the decision. If this is another type of disciplinary action, explain what preferred behavior might look like. When you can show them how they can improve the situation or explain how to do something differently, you’ll encourage the individual to do better.

While you can be empathetic as you give an employee unpleasant news, you should keep your own emotions in check. This is already a difficult situation for the employee. Showing your own feelings will magnify the emotions your employee will feel. You can better communicate with your employee by remaining calm and addressing their concerns. Once they have all of the necessary information, they can decide for themselves how to react to the news.