Want to be the person that isn’t laid off?

I have been a manager of people for over 10 years. I have hired and fired and sadly during this time, seen my fair share of layoffs. Some layoffs are clearly an opportunity to clean out deadwood but other are ones that cut deeply and competent, well intentioned people are let go. I have set in on many meetings where a group of managers have to make the gut wrenching decisions on who will get the axe. Have you ever wondered how those decisions are usually made? Well here is a little glimpse.

You could be on that list if:

You often respond to new ideas with “we tried that and it didn’t work” or “that won’t work” or “that will be too much work”.
Now this may be true but then again it might not be. The person who always poo poos ideas and is a general pessimist generally isn’t fun to work with and begins to be perceived as difficult to work with and perhaps even avoiding work. If there really is a good reason why you think an idea is flawed be fact based, quote statistics if available, outline other alternatives, and in a worst case scenario, let them discover for themselves why it was a bad idea.

– You often criticize others and rarely praise others.
Some people deserve criticism and no one trusts someone who never says something bad about someone else. But if your comments weigh too heavily to the critical side, then you are likely to be perceived as over judgemental, inflexible and generally people begin to want to avoid you. What better to avoid you than recommend you be one of those who is let go.

– You are a constant procrastinator or have be asked multiple times to complete something.
I am your boss, not your mom. I don’t want to nag. I hired a highly competent professional and expect that you can manage what I asked. If at the time I asked there was an unrealistic goal, you need to speak up then and renegotiate or at the very least renegotiate during the project if you feel the deadline will be missed. Waiting for me to ask you where something is, is too late.

– You are really quiet and afraid to make any waves.
Sure it is bad idea to be too negative or too vocal but it also risky to be too quiet. Everyone at every level in every position needs to have some element of marketing to their job. If others don’t know what you do, why and how you do a good job and can recommend improvements then I am not likely to be able to defend why you should keep your job.

Who is likely to make the cut?

People who are:

– Generally upbeat.
– Are willing to take on new tasks.
– Get things done on time.

You would think these ideas are a no brainer but you would be surprised how many people I have worked with and currently work with who just don’t seem to grasp the obvious.

Good luck in the next RIF.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Leon said,

    This is a great article! Thank you for sharing.


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