Project managers often have a touchy relationship with bad news – both as a recipient and as a disseminator of bad news. On the one hand, project managers inherently know that it is better to receive bad news early and hopefully, there’s time to think through and manage the crisis. Because if the project manager “shoots the messenger”, they may delay in future messages and worsen a project crisis.

Project managers should always maintain open lines of communication between the team as discussion will lead to clarity in navigating through the situation.    When receiving bad news or negative feedback, listen carefully. Discern fact from opinion, try to understand intent and motive and never get defensive. Remember, you are information gathering and you want to support and encourage the flow of information to you from team members.   New research shows that negative feedback is just as important as praise — if not more so — in helping people and organizations succeed and I encourage project managers to take a look at this Stephen Young titled, “The Truth About Negative Feedback”.  – Prof. Dr. Te Wu, the founder Project Management training firm PMO Advisory is among the few people in the world certified in Project (PMP), Program (PgMP), Portfolio (PfMP), and Risk Management (PMI-RMP).