A web site visitor described an all too common occurrence today:

Our company treats firings and layoff exactly the same. The person being laid off or fired is called to the HR department, given their pink slip, escorted back to their station with an HR person, a hand truck , and boxes. Thirty minutes later they are on the street with their life dramatically changed.

I just watched this happen to a senior supervisor after working nearly ten years in our company. While employed he was given responsibility for multi-million dollar contracts and assets.

Funny that they give all of that responsibility to a trustworthy person who, while employed, has every opportunity to really shaft the company. They somehow think they will turn into a monster and have no character. Weird! What are they afraid of?

During times of high stress and adversity a manager’s true values shine through. In better times, it’s fairly easy to spout motherhood statements about caring for people, teamwork, respect, etc. But when tough cost cutting moves are called for, many managers revert back to their core beliefs that employees are really just assets with skin (not human beings), can’t be trusted so must be “snoopervised” every step of the way, and everyone is only out for themselves. By believing and behaving that way, they encourage that behavior in return. When they see those values mirrored back to them in negative behaviors, their own negative beliefs are reinforced. “See, I told you they were like that!”

These values issues are coming from a core focus of management and not leadership. There’s a series of my articles on the Management versus Leadership at http://dev.clemmergroup.com/management_versus_leadership/management_versus_leadership.php.

It’s tough to know exactly where fear like she described comes from. I urged her to take steps to keep herself “above the line” in navigating the tough environment she –and so many others – are clearly in today. There’s a series of my articles written to help readers keep your own attitude and outlook on track at
http://dev.clemmergroup.com/attitude_and_outlook_title/attitude_and_outlook.php.