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Gary Martin: Frontline employees don’t deserve abuse for communicating bad news

An airline attendant tells you that your flight has been cancelled. A retail assistant explains that your urgent order has been delayed indefinitely. A call centre operator informs you that your insurance company refuses to pay your claim.

Even though we know that frontline employees are mostly the bearers of bad news rather than the creators of it, we have a dreadful track record for “shooting the messenger”.

During the pandemic, the practice of shooting the messenger seemed to take off as much as baking bread and binge watching the hit series The Squid Game.

We’ve managed to shoot down everyone from health officials who have communicated unpopular decisions made by politicians, to journalists who have failed to adequately sugar-coat grim news about the pandemic’s casualty rates, to restaurant staff enforcing vaccination mandates.

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