No one likes delivering bad news. Especially if that bad news is ambiguous and you know it will lead to several questions that you don’t know the answers to. When people find themselves in this situation, I think it’s normal to experience stress, and often it causes people to shy away from meeting the problem head on. “I could make this phone call….or….I could wait until I know more….”
Bad move. Think about the person on the other end of the phone. They are also experiencing anxiety and stress waiting to hear from you. While of course they are hoping for good news, more than anything they just want clarity and visibility into the situation.
Delivering bad news might not be fun, but it’s a weight off both parties’ shoulders. And while it can be painful, nine times out of ten, the person on the other end will recognize that your intention is to be honest, upfront and informative. It also illustrates that you care about finding a resolution even if you don’t yet have the solution they desire.
When in doubt, grit your teeth, pick up the phone and make the call. You’ll be happy you did.