February 23, 2023
Leadership Through Restructuring
Even though the labor market remains strong, inflation is high. Companies are managing supply chain shortages, higher operating costs, pay increases, and unpredictable economic activities. As one way to stay competitive in an uncertain and challenging market, senior leadership is restructuring their workforce with layoffs and early retirement offers.
Restructures are part of a normal business lifecycle and always have an emotional impact. Managers are often charged with delivering tough news to exiting employees, and then have to build the remaining team’s productivity and morale. Employees that are left after layoffs and reorganization feel the pain of saying goodbye to colleagues, as well as a lack of control which can affect their commitment and capacity.
Whether a new manager joins a team, new teams form, or both, leaders will need to actively advocate for the reorganization to ensure it works. At the same time, they must show compassion and concern for the individual team members. Use these tips to navigate the aftermath of reorganization and help teams move forward.
Dissolve Tension With Communication
Make sure you’re giving constant and reliable information to your team. Employees may be a little on edge, understandably. Take the heat down a notch with proactive two-way messaging.
Talk about the bad stuff. Address the reductions that transpired and whether or not there will be more. Acknowledge the emotional toll that restructuring takes. Don’t ignore the stress, worry, and pain that employees may be feeling in the wake of restructuring. Give employees the courtesy of an empathetic ear and let them know you’re there for them. After a company shake-up, knowing their manager values their well-being means a lot and helps them recover.
Explain what happened. Give the reasons behind the restructuring and use real data. Your team members are adults and they understand things like profitability, market share, and brand reputation. If the company shifted its focus from local to the global, consumer to business, or brick-and-mortar to online, let them know why leaders implemented a new corporate strategy.
Esteem for the departed employees. Whether your new team members are excited or jaded, they’re probably all empathizing with their lost colleagues and are concerned about what will happen to them. It’s important to praise the efforts of the prior team and acknowledge their contributions. Let remaining employees know what you and your leaders have done to further exiting employees in their careers.
Highlight the opportunities that restructuring has created. Don’t become so empathetic that whining and lamenting take hold. Rather, help team members to see where they can take advantage of the current structure to make career and financial gains. Restructuring can make it easier for the remaining employees to thrive. The new direction can open new doors in the market. With improved profitability, employees can gain more support for initiatives. The new management team may bring in a more collaborative or innovative culture. Highlight these specific benefits so your team can see a clear and direct upside.
Drive cross-function alignment. The remaining employees need to understand where they fit in the new company structure and what’s expected of them. It can be helpful to use the organizational chart to clearly explain the roles and job functions that each member has as well as how their jobs support other departments. The organizational chart helps employees accurately visualize the new organizational ecosystem, so they can quickly become effective members.
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Manage your stress.
Restructuring offers managers a chance to develop new skills, strengths, and resilience if they can keep stress from getting in the way. They can also more effectively maintain the stamina and positivity their team needs.
Get help from an expert. Managers can make the most of the challenging career phase by enlisting the help of a leadership coach who can offer experience and encouragement. A leadership coach can help managers keep a healthy perspective and allocate time for their own well-being. They can also guide them through the weeds of building new paths and teams.
Defuse stress throughout the day. Additionally, managers can find ways to let out the pressure bit-by-bit throughout their workday to eliminate build-up. Give yourself incremental breaks to breathe and reframe your mind. Things like taking a walk, joining a lunchtime yoga session, or reading a book can offer incremental moments to reframe and recharge your mind.
Make healthy choices. During especially stressful phases, good health choices are important. While it might not be a good time to train for a marathon, you should still make time for light workouts that get your blood moving through your circulatory system. Social and emotional health matters as well. Allocate time for the important people in your life. Enjoy tech-free time at home with family. Call a good friend. Attend a church or club meeting. Your physical and psychological health impacts you and your team.
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Reorganization helps companies plan for and react to change. They happen as part of a normal business cycle and ultimately result in continued progress. With the right approach, managers can help their people overcome overwhelm, recover quickly, and build fast results. Make sure you’re communicating effectively and engaging your team on the important points. And take stress seriously. The next chapter can yield incredible results.
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