February 15, 2011

Critical Factors For Dealing With Downsizing

1) Timing is critical. What is appropriate when people are upset and emotional is not as effective six months later.

2) The ability of leaders to "read" the feelings and perceptions of staff members is critical to making appropriately timed decisions.

3) Leaders who are able to accept without judgement staff's emotional reactions to downsizing will enhance their own ability to lead, and staff's willingness to follow.

4) Leaders need to help staff refocus their attention on getting the job done, and making the organization better in the future.

5) Leaders also need to deal with their own emotional reactions to downsizing, so that they keep themselves healthy and productive.

6) Leaders should prepare for downsizing before it is announced. In other words, there should be some strategy for helping staff, addressing practical issues that arise, and moving the organization into the future.

7) The most common mistake managers make regarding downsizing is to under-manage. By assuming that it will all work itself out, the manager spends too little time dealing with important issues, and loses the respect and trust of staff.

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