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Your words can caress … or bite

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Two BBC executives addressed a group of 200 journalists who were about to be laid off.

Executive A, who went first, talked about all the great things that other news organizations were doing. Then, he shared a personal account of a wonderful vacation he’d just taken in Cannes.

The organization nearly had to call in security officers to protect Executive A from the fired employees’ wrath.

Executive B talked about the hard economic times the organization was going through and the harsh impact on the profession. Then, he spoke about the higher calling that had led them all to become journalists in the first place, and he wished everyone luck.

The crowd cheered.

Lesson: People can take tough news if you deliver it honestly, appeal to their nobler sentiments and listen to yourself from their vantage point.

—Adapted from Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead With Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis and Annie McKee, Harvard Business School Press.

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