Leadership

The 4 absolute worst things to wear when you're giving bad news

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NBC | Getty Images

As a manager, you will likely be forced to make unpleasant announcements. Whether it's announcing pay cuts, salary freezes or layoffs, delivering bad news to employees is practically inevitable.

Dressing appropriately to share less-than-positive news also says a lot about someone's leadership and executive presence, career and professional development expert Jeff Black tells CNBC.

Black says authentic bosses need to be more mindful of what they wear on any given day.

"You're about to turn [the employees'] lives upside down with some difficult news," Black says, so you should keep what you wear "very simple and very basic."

Here are the four absolute worst things Black says you could wear when you're giving bad news:

Expensive designer logos

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Christian Vierig | Getty Images

When standing in front of people giving bad news that impacts them financially, the last thing you want to do is wear a visible designer logo embroidered on a shirt, Black says.

"It doesn't matter if it came from a discount department store and it wasn't expensive," Black says. "The reality is it looks expensive."

Flashy, expensive-looking jewelry and embellishments

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Gabe Ginsberg | Getty

Black says rocking your shiniest watch, rings or necklaces may not be a good idea in this scenario. Contrary to the "professional edge and polish" Black recommends for big meetings or presentations, he tells clients to just keep things simple when delivering bad news.

"This is a time where you keep your dress at the level of the audience," Black says. "If everybody is there in jeans and polos, you don't want to show up in a suit and tie or formal dress."

Bright colors and patterns

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Lyn Alweis | Getty Images

Whether it's a light pink, yellow, purple or green, Black recommends avoiding bright, cheery colors. You should also stray away from wearing patterns or stripes and just stick to solid color clothing. Black recommends wearing grays, blues or neutral colors instead.

Your company or brand logo

FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaking at a press conference.
Michael Buholzer | Getty Images
FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaking at a press conference.

If you have to give bad news about your company on camera for media purposes, Black says he encourages clients to stay away from wearing your brand logo on your shirt or jacket.

"There is no need to wear your company's respected logo" in such moments, he explains, especially when you want to evade a negative association with the organization.

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