I am grateful for Tiger Woods' admission of guilt and his apology to his family. Since the reporting of his car accident days ago, the Internet has been full of speculation about the accident and about his possible infidelity. People have been arguing, taking sides, and worrying about their golf superhero. I know I have been.
But now, with his admission and apology, we can move on.
Yes, this blog is about business writing. Here's the connection: Mr. Woods' situation, however unfortunate, involves business communication.
Now that he has told the truth, even a slice of it, we can move on. Our wondering is over. We can get back to important things. Soon Mr. Woods will be able to return to golf.
The same is true when communicating bad news in our business lives. We should share bad news promptly and apologize for it.
In the latest issue of my e-newsletter, Better Writing at Work, I suggest:
Tip 3: Reveal it–don't conceal it. Don't try to protect others from bad news or yourself from sharing it. If bad news leaks out, people may be hurt and angry that they did not hear it from you or through other appropriate channels.
Tip 9: Apologize. Saying you are sorry about a situation does not mean you are guilty or liable for it. It means you care. Tell employees, customers, clients, and patrons when you are sorry that the news is not better. And if the bad news is your fault–for example, if you missed a proposal submission deadline because of your own mistake or delay–accept responsibility and apologize so that you and everyone else can move on.
He has owned up to the bad news. He has communicated enough for us to move on. Those were the right things to do.
Do you have a view on communicating bad news?