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Most of these “Leadership Proverbs” I’ve just picked up, absorbed and imbibed by some process of osmosis along the way and don’t know exactly whom they originated from. But when I know I’ll make reference, and when I don’t it’s not that I’m ungrateful or that I want to appear like a genius. It’s genuinely that I can’t remember. So if I’ve flogged something from you let me know and I’ll happily acknowledge it.


Bad news is good news

 It’s very tempting to love good news and seek it out and reward those who deliver it because it signals success and accomplishment and makes you, as the leader, feel good and like you’re making a difference and all those good things. And it’s also very tempting to hate bad news and to avoid it and minimise it and get upset when people deliver it.

This imbalance is foolish and very likely destructive.

As your team begins to learn that bad news makes you angry – and especially if you have a habit of shooting the messenger – they will learn to either keep bad news from you or to colour the news when they present it to make it not seem so bad.

But what this then means is you either don’t get important information or you don’t get accurate information. And it means that you train your team to keep information from you, either fully or partially.

But bad news is always very helpful. You need to know what is happening. You need to know what isn’t working. You need to be crystal clear on what the problems and issues are so you can take steps to address them. Bad news, though painful, is good news because it helps you see reality that much clearer; and those people who consciously avoid reality, well, we call them crazy. Bad news gives you a better picture of what is actually happening rather than leaving you with a picture of just what you wish was happening.

And knowing what’s actually happening, and where things are actually up to, is always a good thing.