Good. Bad. Ugly.

That’s pretty much the summarized version of a working environment in the 21st century. While the good is short-lived; the hardest reality of the professional world is to acclimatize oneself to the bad and the ugly. But speaking from a leadership angle, hitting a bull’s eye amidst the terror of a dark and unstable economic condition is not easy.

After the COVID shockwave, when businesses ceased to move optimistically, even though at turtle speed, right then landed another threat for working professionals – LAYOFFS!

Oxford dictionary would define the term ‘layoff’ as a practice that would stop employing someone based on an understanding of not having enough work for them to do.

However, in reality, the tale of layoffs can be written on varied plots, based on circumstances and reasons that exist. But rather than digging deep into ‘the whys’, let’s steer the focus more towards the calamity and what evacuation plan can be chalked out.

Leaders Turn Learners

The rampant layoffs have taken a massive toll on employees worldwide. Companies, especially, brand giants, have set ablaze employment commitments. Tech layoffs tracker site, shows horrifying data of nearly 100,000 employees losing their jobs in the nascent weeks of 2023.

Saying that, what has become imperative and dawns upon us to be learned and executed, is managing to downsize with patience, compassion, and care.

Act with Acknowledgment

If you are leading an army of corporate soldiers, understanding and empathizing with the psychics of those who are victims of a layoff can get very challenging. Facing the transitory phase of an employee, and minification of the brand image around the same time requires a very astute focus.

The first step towards acting as a learned leader is to ACKNOWLEDGE! Nothing can be held as a substantial reason which can voice in favor of layoff. Thus, the accountability factor which strips off the truth of laying off as a mistake of the higher authorities judiciously justifies the angered reactions of the employees.

Take the exampleof  Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who admitted his misjudgment of the flair of market growth and derailed his investment decisions, whose undesirable consequence was laying off 11,000 employees.

Let them know, it’s not them

Right after immediate termination, the event takes a massive toll on the mental health of individuals. Especially people with curtailed financial resources, suffer from the threat of sustaining themselves, which further breaks them and hampers their professional graphs.

A report about the negative impacts of unemployment and job loss on mental health by the American Psychological Association specifies how individuals are succumbing to their daily sustenance and suddenly snap away from routine and engagements of employment.

Thus, the departing process of an employee is the most critical one, since no matter how reasonable and empathetic you try to be, inevitably they would take it personally. Keep hammering into their minds the idea of no deficit being on their part but instead, its the organization’s inefficacy to retain them is very crucial.

Respect the Affected

Each person’s reaction to bad news varies; as a leader, what holds the equilibrium is your patience and consideration of the catastrophe that has landed on your employees. Saying that it does not apply to all cases. Layoffs due to misconduct or severe negligence can be dealt with a grim seriousness.

Your considerate support is required for people who could not be retained due to market instability or being a misfit to the role they were assigned. Your compassionate release to them will not crease their motivation but instead would make them resilient to take up newer challenges in life and fight them with dignity and honor.

HELP – It’s two-way traffic!

There’s no shying away from asking for help or trying to seek it. Never let yourself feed on crappy thoughts like leaders don’t need help and asking for help equates to weakness. As a working professional, you are bound to be prey to difficult situations. But having to bear the torch to find the way out all by yourself is a silly route, never to be taken.

Dealing with layoffs and terminations is tougher than you think. It drains your mental and physical energy and if stretched beyond limits, it can cause even more distress.

Help yourself with easing slightly on your schedule and postponing non-urgent events. Try to invest more time with your loved ones or things you take pleasure in doing. This will aid you in releasing the piled-up stress, and lets you think more wisely in such turbulent times.

For those who Remain, keep them Sane…

Not just laid-off employees, but quite reverting to discover that people who survived a corporate layoff go through lesser or equal levels of mental stress as well. A sharp decline in trust and productivity toward their employer or organization was very evident right after the layoff wave.

Not just they tend to lose faith in their future sustenance in the company, but also curb on recommending others to join too.

Do not make the mistake of expecting to be either thanked or obliged for retaining your current workforce. Gear up for the high possibility of taking the heat from the existing employees who would hold you accountable for the loss of their co-worker and reduction in their usual work output.

Never force yourself into reasoning whether you are ethically right or the layoff was inevitable, just let the turmoil sink for a while til you see the machinery running in its usual course.

Closing Note

If you have traveled so far in this space, you are already well equipped with patience, eagerness to learn, and motivation to motivate the rest! Work on the needful and stick to the fact that downsizing cannot be avoided no matter how well you try. As a leader, you will always end up getting stronger, withstanding the tough times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *