Just like doctors do.
As they feel pulses, and listen to their stethoscopes, doctors are usually the first to know about the bad news. The moment they do, it is their duty to inform the patients regardless of how difficult the task is.
The stereotypical leader exudes positivity and marshals her team through difficult times while keeping the morale up. Regardless of the difficult times the team faces, she keeps up a sunny disposition and inspires the team to follow her lead. But that stereotype has some problems.
Just like a doctor, the leader has her finger on the pulse of the team. The moment she knows that something is wrong, she needs to acknowledge it and let the team know. Similar to patients, her team on the ground experiences the symptoms of the problem first hand. Despite that, if the leader contrives to maintain a sunny disposition, the team usually sees through it. Such a leader’s actions are neither authentic nor courageous. Soon afterwards, the team stops respecting her.
It is common tendency for leaders to hide bad news from their team, even as they try and address problems. It is hard work to bring the bad news. But like doctors, good leaders are bound by their duty to bell those cats.
Inspiration: The Hard Thing about Hard Things – Ben Horowitz