When you’re getting updates about something that’s happened, I’m sure you’ve been asked:
“What do you want first? The good news or the bad news?”
I usually ask for the bad news. I rather have that first and get it over with, and then hope the good news will somehow balance out the bad. Not too sure my theory works every time.
When I used to work at a bank one of my duties was to see if any “stop payment” checks had come in, pull the check out and return it stamped “payment stopped.” Unfortunately, I missed a check and the bank ended up going to court over my mistake. I felt sick when I learned what happened, and I can tell you that I was much more diligent and careful after that.
I know it’s difficult for an employee to tell a boss that something bad happened while they were doing their job. But, as a boss, I’d rather be told there and then, deal with whatever happened and hopefully, after all is said and done, find something good to come from it. I believe that somehow you have to find something positive in any challenging situation to keep your sanity. Kind of like my theory on the bad and good news balancing each other. It might be as simple as learning from a mistake, and while perhaps a costly mistake, it’s a good enough lesson learned so it won’t happen again.