Layoffs are horrible, but leaders can soften the blow

Layoffs are horrible, but leaders can soften the blow | practice (split each time) | New model of DEI training highlights belonging, dignity
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February 7, 2024
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Leading the Way
Layoffs are horrible, but leaders can soften the blow
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When layoffs happen, many former employees are flocking to social media to air their grievances, but Mita Mallick, the head of DEI at Carta, says leaders can avoid public shaming by holding in-person, respectful conversations with employees being let go, expressing gratitude for their work and following up with them a few weeks later. "If you reach out and they don't respond, give them the space and time they may need. Let them make the choice whether to stay in touch or not," Mallick advises.
Full Story: Fast Company (tiered subscription model) (2/5),  Entrepreneur (2/6) 
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Put it into practice: If a former employee reaches out to you for advice on improving their resume or requesting a LinkedIn recommendation, help if possible, and if you can't, at least respond and wish them well, Mallick recommends. "Don't let a poor layoff experience end up defining how an employee feels about their experience working for you and the company."
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New model of DEI training highlights belonging, dignity
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While widespread, diversity, equity and inclusion training does not have the desired effect, according to Gallup research published in the Harvard Business Review. However, a new model of DEI training focuses on dignity and belonging, which Jackson Nickerson, an emeritus business professor and now adjunct at Washington University in St. Louis, explains in this blog post.
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Put it into practice: Create a shared organizational identity so all people feel like they belong and generate more interest and empathy. Try prevention framing, to eliminate dignity violations and foster a corporate identity and self-esteem. Especially in meetings, avoid language that "blames, attacks identity, is excessively directive or lacks appreciation," Nickerson writes, such as 'Why would you do that?' and 'should be.'"
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Having to communicate -- and stand behind -- a decision from your boss that you disagree with is "one of the most challenging things you'll have to do as a leader," writes Ron Carucci, co-founder of Navalent. Carucci offers six tips that can make it easier, including venting first to a friend or coach to keep emotions in check and seeking a better perspective on the reasoning.
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Put it into practice: Explain without defending. Resist the urge to side with your team; instead, be empathetic and validating, Carruci writes. Help them cope with disappointment by encouraging them to see the bigger picture.
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In Their Own Words
Leaders can retain their top talent by building relationships with them, investing in their development, giving them chances for advancement and modeling a growth mindset -- which means getting personally involved with direct reports, says leadership expert Ryan Estis. "The most important thing a leader or manager could be doing is having one meaningful conversation a week with their direct reports or people on their team," Ryan suggests.
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Dreading Valentine's? Send your ex to the scrap heap
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If you've recently ended a relationship and are not looking forward to Valentine's Day, a British car scrapping company may have just the 'car-tharsis' you want. Scrap Car Comparison invites folks to submit their ex's name, which will be painted on a car before it's sent to the scrap heap (and photographic evidence of the deed will be provided).
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My post yesterday on the research on how music gets our bodies moving, whether or not we're great dancers, got a few of you tapping on your keyboards.

Pam F. says songs by Earth, Wind, and Fire (especially "September" and "Shining Star") get her up and dancing. "It's impossible to stay still, and that 3.5 minutes of movement not only feel good physically but mentally too!" she notes.

For Marilyn D., Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling" brings rhythm to her feet. Jim C. says he and his wife like both kinds of music -- country and western! Music brought them together at the local VFW, and after eight years of marriage, they're still dancing together -- everything from the two-step, waltz, swing and a little cha-cha.

"I think most of dancing is having a good sense of rhythm, and then it's just learning the particular moves for each type. Gotta feel it in your soul, and your feet will follow!" Jim writes.

That's good advice for the rhythmically challenged among us (like myself). Thanks to everyone who shared their favorite dance tunes.

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