“Why didn’t you tell me, Ben?” - Luke Skywalker
If you’ve been in Luke’s place before and wondering why you weren’t told something big, you are probably a victim of a complicated situation. If you haven’t seen the original Star Wars trilogy (Eps IV - VI), I highly recommend you go and watch it. Also, spoiler alert: Obi-Wan, a.k.a. Ben, Kenobi kept the secret that Darth Vader was Luke’s father. Instead, opting to tell Luke that Vader had ‘destroyed’ Anakin Skywalker.
While technically true, the way Obi-Wan presented the information was very easy to misinterpret. I don’t know about you, but typically when I hear the word “destroyed” I think of something being killed or shattered – not replaced or changed into a different thing/person. This brings me to my point: Obi-Wan made some tough decisions about what to tell Luke and when.
As a leader this situation will come up much more frequently than you might like. The higher up the ranks you progress, the more frequently you will be privy to sensitive information the likes of which can (and will) ruin the day of people in the lower ranks; regardless of how well presented or thought through it is when they receive it. Here are a few items to keep in mind when you find yourself wondering “how am I ever going to tell them this?”
Impact – While the broad implications of the sensitive