Think the words boss and bad news never belong in the same sentence? News flash: Sometimes you have to tell the Man (or the Woman) the ugly truth. Here’s how. 

Talk Don’t offer one solution. Take the Goldilocks approach and bring one that’s overkill, one that’s underdone, and one that’s just right.

Time This is key: Wait until the boss is in a good mood, says Bob Rosner, consultant and coauthor of Gray Matters: The Workplace Survival Guide (John Wiley & Sons, $17). Most bad news can percolate for half a day or more.

Tattle But only on yourself. When you’ve messed up, you’d better fess up before the boss finds out from someone else. Make sure you acknowledge your mistake and apologize. “Your major power tool is to say, ‘This is what I’ve learned from my mistake,’?” Rosner says.

For more, see