Leading Your Team After a Lay-Off

If you own a company or manage a team within one and have had to lay off employees here are some tips to help you turn adversity into opportunity… to use the lay off to strengthen your team and your position with them.

Any adversity offers us a chance to grow, especially when it’s a group facing a challenge together. Think of those times in your life where you’ve really connected with a group of people through a challenge or catastrophe. Think of the bond that’s built. This is your opportunity to build that with your team.

Here are some tips.

Tip #1. Remember that you are a team, and you’re going through this together. You need to remember that, and you need to remind them of that. This is a hard time for all of you. You’ve got a good team. They’re smart people. They know what’s going on in the world. They know people are getting laid off. They understand the realities of it. They may not like it any more than you do… and that’s the point. You’re all in this adversity together, this uncomfortable situation that you don’t like. It’s not them and you, it’s all of you.

Tip #2. Talk to them, and let them talk to you. Let them know that you aren’t liking it either. Don’t blame the company, don’t complain, just let them know, “I’m upset that we needed to let them go too. This is challenging.” Say more than that but you get the gist. Sometimes we need to be reminded (both management and employees) that none of us like it and we are all in it together.

Let them talk about it too. So many times through things like this, more stress is created because no one is talking which is scary and it makes us wonder. Have an open door policy about this. It’s not just about them wondering what’s going on, aren’t you wondering how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking too? Make it okay to talk about it. Sometimes in work we forget were human… not just human but capable human beings. We can handle it… and it helps to handle it together.

Tip #3. Lead. Many times after a lay off, people are left to just wonder what’s next because the business just seems to continue forward a bit like a funeral march. This is your time to shine. Be a leader. Remind all of you that choices have to be made. The reality is, companies are going out of business. The lay off is to keep yours running. You are the lucky ones. But don’t just talk it… do it. The next part is to start living that, to work on doing more than surviving, work on thriving. It’s your job to lead that.

A long time ago I was demoted. It was very political. You know how those things go. They gave my team to someone else to manage. A few months later, the same thing happened to someone else in the company. We were talking one day. She surprised me. She said, “I wouldn’t have known how to handle it, if I hadn’t watched you. You didn’t complain, blame, lash out, or criticize. You just kept your head high and did your job.”

Be that kind of leader to your team, someone they believe in and have a reason to follow. Which does not mean being perfect, just be someone you feel good about being. It makes all of you feel better and creates loyalty.

Tip #4. Build your new team. Remember that good team of yours? Those people you have left. Have them be your team, your helpers to reorganize. They know their jobs and the department/company. Don’t do it alone, it’s not good for you or for them. Let this time build you as a team. Let your remaining team members know that they are an integral part of the whole, instead of just hanging on to their jobs in hopes that they aren’t next to go.

One of the biggest things I do as a coach is to get you looking forward. It’s easy to look at what we lost and what’s not working. My job is to get you thinking about what you want to build next, get you to start planning forward and even get excited about it. An adversity like this offers an opportunity to reorganize, to build something… maybe even something better. What do you really want? What will you make of this new team of yours?

Tip #5. Vision and Create. Now that you’ve read these but before you do any of these steps… think of your team. Think of the individual strengths that all of you have. Think of what you want to build with them. Create a vision for yourself of how you’d like to it be. This is a ripe opportunity to rebuild your team in a new way. Come up with some ideas and some action steps.

What’s interesting, often in corporations people aren’t as busy as they’d like to be. They are bored. People want to feel useful and work at something that feels like it’s worth doing. Creating a leaner, more powerful team that really values it’s members may be the best thing to happen to your group.

A personal note to you. I know this is hard. These are challenging times. Make the best of it for yourself. Focus forward on what you want to create. Remember each adversity offers an opportunity, and make the most of what you have. Keep your eye on your vision, not just of getting through this but of making something great of it. Now go do it. Build that new team of yours, with their help.

Go For Extraordinary!

If you feel stuck through any of this and want help, call me 206.937.1037 or email me at Lisa@LisaKBradley.com. We can do a single coaching session to get you focused on the opportunity you have in front of you to build something good. We’ll come up with a plan and action steps for you. If you’d like help with talking with your team, have me come and do a Mastermind Session with all of you. I’ll support you in coming up with a plan and actions, and build a powerful team. We can get you thinking forward, empowered, inspired to take on the world in a new way.


3 thoughts on “Leading Your Team After a Lay-Off

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  3. Pingback: Leading In Times of Challenge — Lisa K. Bradley's Blog

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