Category Archives: Giving Feedback

Dropping the Bomb: How a Bad Boss Delivers Bad News to Employees

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Dropping the Bomb: How a Bad Boss Delivers Bad News to Employees

Drop Bomb

It’s a fact that being a bad boss is not easy, especially when you need to deliver bad news to your employees.

Typical reasons for needing to deliver bad news to employees, include:

  • Firings
  • Legal Issues
  • Product Recalls
  • Large Scale Layoffs
  • Untimely Departure of an Executive

As you will notice, there are three critical techniques in delivering any bad news to an employee and that is to deliver the message FAST, don’t apologize, and always make your exit swiftly. Do not remain in the room as this will only cause the employee more stress as they try to choke back their tears in front of you. Never admit any blame or apologize for any grievance. Avoiding questions is in everyone’s best interest to minimize confrontation.

  1. With the bad boss, there is always the direct approach when delivering bad news to employees, “You’re all fired. There are empty boxes lining this wall for a reason; use them, people!” Hand an empty box to the nearest employee standing next to you. Don’t apologize and make your exit swiftly.
  2. SANDWICH the bad news into the conversationSandwichFor a softer approach, start by saying something positive, slip the negative statement in quickly, and then close with a distraction. Try this for an example, “Thank you all for coming in to work today, our office is closing and your last check will be delivered Friday, we’re providing Pizza for lunch for those who finish the week with us”. Make your exit swiftly to avoid questions.
  3. Politician Approach – If you somehow become trapped in an uncomfortable situation where questions fly your way by disgruntled employees, just deny everything like a politician! “What are you talking about? No, we did not promise free Pizza for lunch today, but you will get your paychecks”. Your goal was to get the employees to work till Friday; mission accomplished. Remember, you have two different party’s interests at heart, that of the employee and of upper management. But, for the bad boss, upper management comes first and that might take a little lying.
  4. Let them find out from others… Still don’t like the idea of communicating to your employees or the potential confrontation? There is always the option to allow your employees find out the company is going out of business from outsiders, the news, or your public press release. This tactic is especially effective if you feel that your staff might jump ship early if they are tipped off about the bad news. You could also let them continue to blissfully work unaware of the pending danger, and then place a note on the locked doors for them to encounter upon arriving to work on Friday.
  5. Corporate jargon deliverance speech: Is your superior in some amount of bad publicity due to his or her unexplained and untimely exit? Avoid hurting the entire company’s morale by keeping this questionable detail to yourself. Instead of telling the truth, the best way to deliver this news is with a departmental or company-wide speech that is filled with very confusing corporate jargon. “Despite what you may hear in the news, we are encouraging a new green initiative and Bill has graciously volunteered to be our first work-from-home executive”. As always, make your exit swiftly.

Or you could deliver good news in person, and bad news in Email:

Disclaimer: Bad Boss posts are meant for entertainment purposes only and are not to be taken seriously.

The Bad Boss Performance Review

performance evaluation

The Bad Boss Performance Review

Prior to the employee’s performance review, discuss how the employee is doing with other managers or subordinates in the office. The point is to spread gossip and allow the employee to catch wind of your perspective in order to give them a head start on their rebuttal. If you don’t like the employee, this will also make them very nervous, which should make you (the bad boss) happy. 😉

Moral support! The first rule of giving performance reviews is to have someone included in the meeting who is on your side. You can bring in anyone into this meeting that you want. Bring in a colleague from another department, your girlfriend, or even your best friend, “Mr. Wiggles”, your pit bull dog.

Have a camera man on standby to record each job performance review so that you have a documentation of the proceedings. If the employee messes up again, you now have a video that you can replay for them to recall the previous conversations on the issue.

During the performance review, be as vague as you possibly can. This will ensure that the employee does not become uncomfortable during your proceedings. You might say things like, “We’d like to see you do better”, but don’t indicate what they need to work on.

Bring up things in the performance review from months or years back. The employee will have a hard time remembering these occurrences. Therefore, they will be at a loss as to how to respond to your accusations.

Intimidating facial expressions and body language are important! Know when to use them! Keep your employees guessing and instill fear so that they will be less likely to question you or defend themselves. Some facial expressions and body language to practice, prior to the performance review, are: crossing your arms, scowling, squinting, & shaking your head in disgust.

Next, hearsay is the best indicator of an employee’s performance. Make sure to point out any hearsay and third party reports about the employee that has been brought to your attention. Ensure that you discuss specific names of those who are making the allegations so that confrontations can proceed after the hearing.

If the employee does try to defend himself, just cut them off mid sentence and let them know that you are short on time. If they continue to press the issue, hand them a blank document and ask the employee to fill out their own performance review. This will give you an idea of the employee’s perspective. Ask the employee to be completely honest when filling out the document. Plus, it will occupy their time while they try to identify their own strengths and weaknesses. Allow employees to question each other on how they think they are doing.

Above all, never feel obligated to give an employee a perfect score. This is an impossible achievement for anyone. Also, just because an employee is doing well on their performance review, you should not be cornered into giving them a raise for their hard work. To avoid raises completely, always find something wrong with everyone!

As a bad boss, it is your job to bust every optimistic bubble and glimpse of hope in the office.

An Awkward Performance Review…

Disclaimer: Bad boss posts are meant to be humorous and should not be taken seriously. Articles on the subject of performance reviews: