As a consultant, I deal with informing clients about good and bad situations. The good situations are easy to deal with. It's the bad situations which are hard to tell clients.
In some cases it's about a piece of equipment that needs to be replaced and other times it could be a situation that has been discovered while trying to document something. It doesn't matter what type of situation it is, if it's going to cost the client some unexpected money or time it isn't something that I like telling them.
If you go into a client site and you are asked to find problems and give recommendations that is one thing but it's the finding of the unexpected problems which are the worst. In some cases it can be a quick fix and another time it can require a great deal of time or money and in some cases both time and money.
I recently had a situation that I had to let management know of a situation that wasn't going to be pleasant and it was extremely difficult for me. I knew that no matter how I worded the situation it was going to result in some unhappy people. As you can guess, I let them know the situation and sure enough some unhappy people. Yes, the client needed to know the issue and it was my job to disclose the situation once I discovered it, which I did. Once I told the client the issue I knew that I was going to have some upset staff as well as management and that is what I had. The good news is once the initial shock wore off they understood that I hadn't been out to find the problem, it just got discovered in me doing my normal work.
Situations like this are always difficult no matter if it's to a client, partner, child or someone you supervise. No one likes delivering the bad news but there are times when it has to be delivered.
Dealing with the difficult situations can assist someone in understanding what you do, your method of working, as well as finding out something that can be improved in their area. Deal with the situation in a professional manner and know that you are doing the right thing by letting them know. It's better to tell them of the situation than them find out about the situation another way and you getting questions about why you didn't tell them.
Know that you can deliver the news and it be received in the manner that you intended it is very important. Also having ideas to help solve the problem can really help instead of just delivering the bad news. The most important thing is know how you are going to deliver the news and make sure you can prove it.