'Times Up' Team member 

Restructures happen in all organisations and sometimes people get made redundant during that process. What happens when some of your team members are let go? And what happens when you were the one that got to stay? I have been through a redundancy and at the time I was leading team of 10 people. Some of the team was going to stay and move into other roles and some of us were leaving the organisation. There members in this situation with a mass of conflicting emotions. And yet, there is still work to be done. How do you manage yourself, the work and your team?

One set of team members are those that have decided to stay and have been given an opportunity to take another role. Their job application and decision process is a challenge in itself. What should I do? Can I afford to leave at this stage of my career? What kind of role would suit my career path and me? Is another department going to hire me if I have been flagged as a possible redundancy? Once they have been through the difficulty of finding a new role and being at peace with that decision, they somehow have to communicate that to the other team members that may not have been as successful. There might be possible feelings of guilt for securing a role, disappointment for letting their colleagues down and anger towards the organisation for not supporting everyone into a role. And there will be judgment from others in the team, as to why that person got to stay.

If you are the one staying, it is important to keep focused on your decision. It is challenging but if can you remain focused on your decision and your personal plan, it can help you to remain confident in your decision. It is important to remain humble and empathetic to those around you, so bragging about your new role is obviously not respectful of the situation. You are however allowed to be happy about your plans and your new adventure. Similarly as a manager, it is important to support and congratulate the person staying at the organisation and celebrate their new role. It is preferable however, to not do it consistently in front of other team members going through their own process. Remaining self aware and aware of those around you, as well as focused on your own process is a good formula for navigating what is a difficult time.

The other team members are those that have been made redundant and either have not secured a role or have decided to leave. Similarly they would have been through a very challenging decision making process and landed, either through choice of lack of opportunity, with an end date to their tenure at the organisation. Coming into work each day to a team that was once a great place to work but is no longer safe or fun can be torture. Not only are these team members possibly angry at the organisation, they are also possibly resentful to their colleagues and others around them that get to stay.

So how do you manage yourself and the team? Create the opportunity for people to talk about the issue, either together or with a support system, such as Human Resources, Transition Organisations or an EAP. It is also really important to be self-aware in your language and behaviours. Whatever the impact of the process is on you personally it is important to talk to someone about it but it is equality important to be respectful of what other people are going through.

Redundancy is hard. I have written about it in other blogs from an employee and a manager’s perspective. However, as difficult it is, each person will have their own journey and their own emotions throughout the process. Being really open minded and respectful of all individuals is key to managing the team in is varying states. At some point the process will stop and there will be people remaining trying to recreate a team and complete the work. Supporting, growing and investing in these people is key to recalibrating after change. 

Return to the Teamwork Series

For a further conversation about coaching, please contact me: louise.bodlander@llbc.com.au or my contact page. 


May 2018