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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Closing The Book After A Rough Termination

By Liz Reyer, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (TNS)

Q: I recently was told that my job was going to be eliminated after nearly 20 years. While I found a new position and am moving on, the whole process was very impersonal and felt unfair. What would have been fair to expect, and what can I do?

A: First of all, ouch! It’s hard enough to lose your job, but even worse when it is handled in a callous manner. Keep in mind, though, that people vary a lot in how well they communicate, especially when making hard decisions.

If I’m not mistaken, your challenge is less about the practical impact on your life, as you’ve found another position. However, if you’ve had to accept a lesser position and if you think you’re being pushed out unfairly, you might want to consider whether you want to take legal steps. Given that I am neither an HR expert nor an attorney, I’ll leave it at that.

Returning to the personal aspect, you may find it helpful to try to think about the motivation underlying the lack of compassion. First, they may just not be very nice people. If there were changes in leadership, for example, the new people may have no sense of personal connection to you. And they just might not care. There’s really nothing you can do there, except to accept that it truly has nothing to do with you.

On the other hand, they may be extremely uncomfortable about the decision they’ve made, and have poor skills for handling it. Think about all of the people who are uncomfortable with dealing with other people’s personal losses, like a death in the family. They don’t know what to say, and often just say nothing at all. This actually feels likely to me, given that it’s a smaller firm and you have a long history with them. While it doesn’t change the outcome for you, it may help you experience the emotions in a different way.

Let’s assume that they’re being clueless, not indifferent or malicious. Can you relate to this in some way, thinking back on times when you may have fallen short with someone else? Note that I’m not trying to say that you shouldn’t feel hurt, but just trying to help you find a way to understand how someone could let you down. It may be beneficial for you to find compassion for them, strange as that may seem.

As far as moving forward, try some activities that help you express your emotions. Writing would be a great way; for example, writing farewell letters that can help you process the experience. These would be for you, not to be sent; a personal ritual of writing and then burning or tearing up the letters can be very liberating. You could decide, of course, that sending a brief note to your old firm would feel good, but make sure you sleep on anything you’d send. Most important, make sure you really understand that you’re launching a one-way communication so that you’re not disappointed again.

It’s really a matter of moving on. Time will help, and embracing your new reality will speed it along.

ABOUT THE WRITER
Liz Reyer is a credentialed coach with more than 20 years of business experience. Her company, Reyer Coaching & Consulting, offers services for organizations of all sizes. Submit questions or comments about this column at www.deliverchange.com/coachscorner or email her at liz@deliverchange.com.

(c)2015 Star Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: IQPC Singapore via Flickr

Developing A Well-Rounded Management Team

By Liz Reyer, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (TNS)

Q: I’d like to help the managers on my team become more effective with their direct reports. They tend to have different approaches — one is highly organized with a “command and control” approach, one has a more empathic approach, and so on. How can I help them all become more well rounded?

A: Use your managers’ strengths to build a whole that is stronger than each of the parts.

The Inner Game

Think about the suite of skills that a manager needs. A good manager needs to be able to teach, coach, delegate, oversee and sometimes, to set limits and enforce expectations. They also need to be able to create a vision and inspire employees to build commitment and engagement.

As you prepare to work with your team, start with self-assessment. Identify areas where you’re strong; you can use those strengths to help your team. Also pay attention to areas where you have less skill. Don’t devalue them as areas for development for your team just because they don’t play to your strengths. This could be the chance you need for some additional growth.

Do some analysis and planning for each of your managers. Know what strengths you’d like to leverage and the top opportunities for improvement for each. Also consider whether they are out of balance, relying too much on one approach rather than having more leadership flexibility. Then create a vision of your team as a whole so that you’ll know when you’ve achieved your objective.

Determine the resources available within your company so that you can make a realistic plan for growth that fits within time and budget constraints.

The Outer Game

Have one-on-one meetings with each manager, talking about your assessment and engaging them in considering next steps for their development. Be aware that they may resist the feedback, or may simply have blinders on that are hard to get through. Be consistent with your expectations … and be ready to both push and support. Also, make the point that you’re not trying to create clones and that the best outcome will be that each manager grows in unique ways.

Then pull the group together, using this as a team-building opportunity. Consider a one-day off-site meeting, where you can step away from day-to-day work and collaborate on ways to become more effective. Ideally, you’d have a facilitator so that you can participate and so that there is some neutrality. Encourage mutual support and teaching, perhaps having managers share their best practices. Your goal will be to have specific action plans so that your managers are ready to move forward once they get back to work.

Build progress into goals and objectives, and observe performance and provide feedback on a regular basis. Make it clear that refusing to build new skills is not an option, while recognizing that growth also involves the risk of failure (and trying again), so it needs to be a safe environment. And seeing their managers continue to push themselves will send a powerful message to more junior staff.

The Last Word

Growth is challenging but could be the path to a strong and cohesive leadership team.

About the Writer
Liz Reyer is a credentialed coach with more than 20 years of business experience. Her company, Reyer Coaching & Consulting, offers services for organizations of all sizes. Submit questions or comments about this column at www.deliverchange.com/coachscorner or email her at liz@deliverchange.com.

(c)2015 Star Tribune, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Photo: Vancouver Film School via Flickr

Liz Reyer: How To Face Impending Layoffs

By Liz Reyer, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (TNS)

Q: My company is going through a large layoff. Not much information has been shared, but I think it’s likely that my team (including me) could be affected. In the meantime, we have a lot of work to do. What advice do you have to help us keep moving forward?

A: Try to remain grounded in the present while making plans for a variety of futures.

THE INNER GAME

“Put on your own oxygen mask first” is a cliche, but it’s true in this case. If you’re falling apart, you can’t help your team. So start by facing your fears. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You lose your job? If that happens, you’ll survive; in fact, I’ve talked with many who ended up in a better role than they had before. Or you keep your position, but your friends and co-workers are gone, and you’re overworked? Understand your fears so you can demystify them.

Now consider what you actually know, and your options for gaining more clarity. Check to see what your boss knows (or can share) and take advantage of information that your company may be sharing. Ask questions whenever you can; you have little to lose by being inquisitive, and it could help you put a realistic plan in place.

Notice how well you’re doing with managing the stress of the situation, and be sure to practice great self-care. Have some fun, get some exercise, eat good food, get enough sleep.

Check in with your team, and determine how they’re doing. Keep in mind that people will have different reactions and different needs. They will also have unique ways of showing their stress, so be attuned to that.

THE OUTER GAME

Realistically, each person on the team — including you — needs two plans: one for if you keep your job and one if you’re let go.

If you stay at your company, recognize that it won’t be the same place. If the layoffs are driven by a fundamental shift in corporate direction, you may need to adapt to new expectations. Further, you’re going to need to be able to accept the new normal and have a positive attitude. That is going to be harder for some people than others, and it’s because of this that some people choose to leave even if they were not laid off. To be blunt, if you won’t be able to be happy or feel secure, you should explore new opportunities.

Anticipating that you may be laid off, now is the time for exploring new opportunities, connecting with folks in your field, and having an updated resume. Don’t wait until the company announces your fate — be laying the groundwork.

And, even though it’s difficult, you need to keep doing your job as well as you can, living up to your own standards of professionalism. Focus on having positive energy and helping your co-workers stay positive, too. Consider using your regular staff meetings to address both the positives and the negatives together so that your team is a support to all of you.

THE LAST WORD

There is a great deal outside your control, but acting on what you can control will help you get through this challenge.

ABOUT THE WRITER
Liz Reyer is a credentialed coach with more than 20 years of business experience. Her company, Reyer Coaching & Consulting, offers services for organizations of all sizes. Submit questions or comments about this column at www.deliverchange.com/coachscorner or email her at liz@deliverchange.com.

(c)2015 Star Tribune, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Image: Gene Han via Flickr