Seven ways to... nurture survivors

When the axe falls, how can managers help those left behind to adjust to their new situation?

by
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Say it straight. For the survivors of a restructure, one question matters: what happens next? When sharing details of the new way, be candid ('sadly, things can't be as they were') and clear ('the new structure looks like this'). Be prepared to answer all questions, however tricky, as fully as possible.

Get real. According to research by London Business School and Insead, we want authenticity from our leaders in turbulent times. If you feel saddened by the restructure, share your distress. Openness and humanity are not signs of weakness.

Show the way. GE's former CEO Jack Welch once said: 'Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision (and) passionately own the vision.' Facts will calm fears, but igniting hope and enthusiasm takes much more. Paint a vivid picture of the new world and the exciting opportunities to come.

Get your hands dirty. Your role as leader has just begun. In the inevitable adjustment period of blurred remits and increased workloads, be there to solve problems and plug any gaps. Make your team's transition as smooth as possible.

Pass the power. Move your survivors from angst to action by asking how they can make the change work for themselves. They are more likely to thrive if they're optimistic ('this could be a great opportunity for me') and take responsibility for meeting challenges ('I need to learn fast to make the most of this').

Set the goals. In the midst of a restructuring, it is easy to let the simplest (but most effective) things slide. Setting clear objectives with your survivors will provide focus and direction, while emphasising the need for sustained performance.

Be patient. People quickly adapt to new team structures and processes, but the effects of losing friends can last longer. Curb your eagerness for business as usual and give your people time to heal.



In today's bulletin:

LDV driven to administration after Weststar U-turn
Ryanair in the red - but clearer skies ahead
Kingfisher soars as B&Q enjoys the sunshine
Micro-businesses fall through the training gap
Seven ways to... nurture survivors

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