The ability to communicate negative information without alienating your audience has become an essential administrative skill.
That's an interesting claim. I'm inclined not to believe it. But what I know for sure is, it's absolutely not essential for department or search committee chairs to have the ability to communicate negative information without alienating their audiences. In fact, I have a stack of letters and a folder of e-mails that attest to just how effective their communication of negative information can be, even while they're alienating the shit out of me.