Merge's Blog

The right way to communicate unpopular decisions to your staff

Sometimes you will have to make unpopular decisions, choices (or decrees) that will not be liked by your staff; it’s one of the responsibilities of leadership.  Sure, good leaders strive to minimize the fallout of decisions on their people, but sometimes doing the right thing for the company as a whole means hurting some of the individuals within it. Whether that means layoffs, reorganization, or even just a strategy shift, there are bound to be a few people who are put out by the direction you (or your senior leadership) choose to take.

While you can’t avoid making unpopular decisions, there are things that you can do to help your team understand and accept the new reality. And that is exactly what I wrote about in one of my regular columns for back in 2016.  In The right way to communicate unpopular decisions to your staff, I offered five ideas to deliver the message, yet soften the long-term impact.  And perhaps not so surprisingly, these still hold true today.

Still true today!


What do you have to add to the list?  What specific things have you done to make sure people understand the implications, and to mitigate the ensuing damage?  Please share by commenting below.

P.S. For two years, 2014-15, I was a regular contributor to’s panel of business experts. You can find links to all my columns in our Article Archives. For your information, Profit Magazine, now no longer publishing, was a sister publication to Canadian business magazine giants Canadian Business, MoneySense and Macleans. Their list of columnists still reads like the Who’s Who of Canadian business, so I was honoured to be in such distinguished company.

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