Good news can wait. Good news will always be good news and it doesn’t concern when it is told.
Not the case with the bad news. Bad news has a way of turning as the time passes. You have to bring bad news as swiftly as possible to avoid further complications.
This is one of the things I learned in a trial-and-error-style. Not a very fun way to learn but it always drives the message home. Hard. Sometimes I’d double booked a date by mistake. Sometimes, I promised artists certain amount of money and yet things happened that made it impossible to make good on the promises. Shit happens. It is unavoidable. What can be avoided is making the situations worse than they already are. Once you realize that there is a bad news to be delivered, you have to deliver it immediately and deal with the situation courageously. You gotta own the mistakes without making excuses.
There was a time I dragged my feet in delivering the bad news. I so wanted to avoid the uncomfortable conversations and I let it go on way too long to the point that there was no time to correct the mistakes or come up with solutions or cancel whatever it was entirely. Should I have delivered the bad new right away, there would have been a time to digest the news and come up with the solutions. If I had to cancel the gig, it would have been better to do it a month before rather than 2 days before. If I had to reschedule something, it is better to have an ample time to do it. And I didn’t have to come up with excuses as to why I waited so long to deliver the news.
Holding onto bad news compounds the feeling of difficulty in a situation that has already gone wrong somewhat. If I communicate the new right away, it will just be the new itself that is bad but if I marinade in the news a day, there is a bad news and then a day worth of feeling burdened by that bad news. By the time I deliver the news, it gets heavier than necessary. But we do this. We hold onto bad news and overthink it and wait until it is unbearable. Whoever is receiving the news would have to contend with the news and then that fact you didn’t communicate it right away, and then to deal with the problem with little time to spare. You are creating additional problems unnecessarily.
Thing about the mistakes and bad situations are that they actually can be a great opportunity. Mistakes can be such a chance for you to shine. You can show your true character in the best way possible and you can foster better communication, understanding, and loyalty. It is a common knowledge in the customer service industry.
Think about it.
Let’s say there is a restaurant you like and you frequent. You might talk about the place but you liking a restaurant does not make for an interesting story. Then one day, you find a hair in your dish. Staff may do any of the followings: 1) apologize and bring a new dish; 2) apologize, bring a new dish on the house; 3) apologize, bring a new dish, and comp the entire check; 4) apologize, bring a new dish, comp the whole check, and then offer a round of fresh drinks. I think any place that would do 3 and above gets repeat customers and this is something you might tell your friends about.
If the mistake is dealt with poorly, then you would really talk about it. And to everyone. I once found a piece of metal wire in my salad (which I almost mistakenly swallowed). When I mentioned it to a staff member, all I got was an apology. They should have given me a $100 gift card, because that what I would have done if I were working there. I mean, I could have seriously hurt myself. It’s not hard to imagine that I told that story to everyone huffing and puffing. Lol. They had an opportunity to create a loyal customer and they missed out on that. Not only that, because of what I said, it is possible that they lost other customers’ business.
Same thing can be said in personal relationships. How you deal with problems is really where it’s at. It’s easy to be a “friend” when everything is cool. When going gets tough, that’s when you know who’s what. And if you are a freelancing artist, personal relationship is EVERYTHING. It’s not just who you know but how you know them. Bringing bad news swiftly and dealing with it honorably goes a long way. It will help you get ahead in the world and create longevity in your professional life. At least that has been my experience. Not sitting on a bad news and taking responsibilities for whatever can earn you real respect. And that is what you would want.