As the economy continues to plummet, and unemployment soars, I cannot bear to hear another tale of talented, hard working people losing their jobs and being treated with a total lack of humility and compassion on the way out.
Recently, a friend tells the story of the whole team being called together and informed that layoffs were going take place. They were instructed to return to their desks, not talk to one another, and that those being laid off would be called shortly.
When the call came, and the person involved went to meet their fate, the entire thing was handled by an anonymous human resources employee. Their boss was nowhere to be found.
Another person tells of being promised a promotion and raise upon the demise of their supervisor’s role. Weeks later, when they requested a meeting with their department head, they were informed that they were not being promoted after all.
My personal favorite layoff surrounds a certain executive who “just wanted to make changes” and let someone go who had been intrinsic in the success of the business. Less than a year later, those changes proved so detrimental to the company that this person was relieved of their duties and replaced.
Meanwhile, these supposed leaders are gainfully employed and expending their energy on saving themselves. Often not the most talented, and clearly not the best managers, these people think nothing of blithely cutting talent from the team, without even a moments regard for the feelings of those being let go. Perhaps if they were working on strategies to drive business, instead of ways to cover their hides, some of these layoffs would be unnecessary.
I know firsthand how tough it is out there, and I understand all about making difficult decisions to cut back in order to save the business. I also know that there are more caring and empathetic ways to do this. Talk is cheap. Compassion and dignity are free.
The frustration of seeing people in jobs that many others could do better, and with less angst and attitude is overwhelming some days. The lack of empathy is even more disconcerting.
The corporate culture is created at the top. The fish tends to stink from the head down. Senior leadership needs to step back and survey the damage being caused by their reprehensible behavior. The cost of their actions could be very steep in the long run.
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photo: adapted from Glasshouse Images