What Moneyball Can Teach Us About Delivering Bad News

Moneyball – A Great Film with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill

It’s about a baseball club that cannot compete by buying players and finds another way. Brad is the general manager and Jonah his newly hired assistant. In one great scene, the pair discuss dropping players, and Jonah voices much of what we all think when delivering bad news. Jonah believes it should take a lot of preparation and time. Brad says: “These are professional players. They understand. Be clear, be quick, and be out.”

Delivering bad news is hard because it is conflict. No one likes conflict. It is stressful, requires energy, and keeps us up at night. There is a lot to be said for Brad’s guidance, but it needs a little more finesse. Consider the following:

Our words help us understand our mindset. Mark says: “I need to have a difficult conversation with John.” Mark’s mindset needs to change. Maybe the conversation could be ‘demanding’, or ‘sensitive’, or ‘confident’. What we think becomes what we do.

The Power of the Pause

In conflict situations, we have a tendency to speak quickly, take shallow breaths and fill the silence with repetition. Remember that ‘silence is golden’ and allow the person to process the information and to ask questions. By delivering the bad news with more words and repetition, you risk causing confusion, frustration, and even anger.

SBI

The Situation-Behaviour-Impact model is a simple and effective way to structure what you want to say (search ‘SBI model MBM’ online).

‘Tough on the Issue, Kind on the Person’

People don’t come to work to do a bad job, so it is normally the issues that are the problem and not the people. This doesn’t mean that we can accept poor performance. It does mean that instead of ‘You’re an idiot, work harder’, it is more, ‘These are the results we need. What is stopping you from delivering them?’.

Know Your Style

Five circles within a graph labelled TKI
This model measures how a person behaves when presented with a conflict situation

Thomas-Kilmann identified five default behaviours when we are in conflict, from avoidance to competition with three in between. Know your style because this is how you will act under pressure in conflict and by knowing how you are likely to act, you can adapt. I suggest an online search: click on images to see the five styles. You’ll probably see which one you are, and then you can research it a little further.

Written by Darren A. Smith for The Grocer.

  1. Home
  2. Conflict Resolution Skills Tips
  3. What Moneyball Can Teach Us About Delivering Bad News

Related Articles:


Conflict Resolution Skills

The Ultimate Guide

Ultimate Guide

e learning Course

e Learning Course Image

Related Articles

The Blog

Training Materials

The Shop

YouTube Playlist 

MBM YouTube Videos

Infographics

MBM Infographics

Glossary of Terms

MBM banner for Effective Leadership terms

Coaching Cards

Coaching Cards

Training Courses

Training Courses

Contact Us or Book a 15 Minute Call

Book a call

Would you like to receive regular articles on learning and development? Improve your personal development?

You may also like:

Conflicts At Workplace. Businss Team Suffering Communication Problem During Meeting In Office

Conflict Management Activities: 4 Exercises to Resolve Work Conflict

4 Conflict Management Activities to Get Your Team Pulling Together and Not Away I feel a story is the best…
Read Article
Team work

Conflict Resolution Activities to Build a Stronger Team

Play to Win! Business leaders and managers increasingly accept that greater diversity in teams brings fresh thinking and other significant…
Read Article

Written By:

Menu