In his nine years as an executive at Sprint, Nathan Jamail recalls many rounds of layoffs. To preserve morale, he would tell surviving employees, “We’re not going to stare at the problem. We’re going to take control and fix it.”
“You have to level with them about the problem, explain the best course of action and charge ahead,” says Jamail, president of Jamail Development Group in Dallas. “Don’t let the problem become bigger than the solution.”
In dire times, avoid lofty descriptions of your grand vision for the future of the organization. People worry more about their personal finances, job security, and health and pension benefits. Reassure employees that you are watching their back and you will not blindside them with bad news.