We are always going through change – it’s inherent in our business and our industry. However, the changes involved in layoffs can be particularly tough on who are not getting layed off.
Even if no one in your group loses their job, you may feel impacted emotionally because you may know someone that is involved in a layoff, or you may start to wonder about what the future will bring. It’s to be expected.
Researchers in the field of organization development coined this term Survivor Syndrome.
What is it? Its a set of attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that typically occur in people that continue to have roles in an organization while others are let go due to economic or changing business needs.
In times of layoffs, organizations typically work very hard to treat released employees with respect and support as they leave the organization. This is about how to help yourself and others who stay on, deal with common feelings and stay focused on business commitments.
For a survivor, the typical attitudes are : cynical, uncaring, emotionally exhausted, detached. And the typical feelings are are anger, depression, fear, distrust, guilt, violation, de-valued.
This results in behaviors that look like
Lack of commitment
Distrustful of management
Less team focused
Focus on job instability
Every person is different, so everyone may or may not exhibit these common attitudes, feelings, and behaviors - but the do in varying degrees.
What should you do?
Indra Nooyi, the Pepsi CEO's interview in The Atlantic http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/07/why-pepsico-ceo-indra-k-nooyi-cant-have-it-all/373750/ on why women cant have it all has created waves. It always helps to have a role model, make full admission of the fact that there are severe challenges, guilt trips and the need to have a huge support system to build a strong career. Women across the world are overjoyed. It resonates - and we feel like we no longer need to feel apologetic about our trials and tribulations.
What resonated the most with was her description of the corporate clock and the biological clock and how they just do not synchronise.
But guess what, men can't have it all either. In my work on Women leadership in Asia, I work with the male leaders as well, because they usually the people who are the managers to the women leaders we are trying to groom. And, I see such an amazing trend when I talk to these senior executives. Most of them have spent over 25 years in the workforce and have had stellar careers.
- they are inevitably regretful of how much they have given to their careers and how little time they have spent with their families - either their children's development , spouses careers or in elder care.
- they wonder if "leaning out" is ever an option - because of the immense pressure of being the sole bread winner
- they believe that they've lived an uni-dimensional world, and now that the years have passed them by they wonder if they can have another life outside of work
- and finally they internally crave for similar "flexibility, holistic life and purpose" as their women counterparts
So, corporations please rise! Rise to the fact that the structured linear career progression is soon going to be a thing of the past. Families , work- life and motivations are rapidly changing - lets also listen to the men and if they want something different.
cc Tony fernandes
On 2nd July 2014, I was taking an Air Asia flight AK 700 from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, for a day trip on business. As I reached the airport at about 630 am, I was met with Mohammed Shairul at the check in counter who took about 3 minutes to check me in. As he handed me my boarding pass, I realised that I had left my Iphone in the taxi that had just dropped me off. What a disaster!
I asked Shairul if I could borrow his phone to call the taxi company.
The minutes that followed were nothing short of a class act.
Shairul stood up from behind his desk, and asked me for my taxi receipt, dialled the number on his phone and started logging a complaint. While he was on the phone, I asked him if we could call my phone as well and see if we could find the taxi driver. So, while on the call with the taxi company he walked across to his colleague at the other check in counter, picked up her phone, asked me for my phone number and dialled it himself. The taxi driver picked up my phone on the other end. Shairul asked him for his location and to come back to return my phone. Apparently the cabbie had a flat tyre and said he could not drive back to drop the phone off. I heard Shairul plead with him for a while (all this while he was simultaneously talking on the other phone to SMRT- the taxi company) and then understood that the cabbie was at the taxi queue in Arrivals (one floor below, across a large airport). He hung up the phone, looked up at me and asked me to wait right there (he also looked at the clock, realised that I have about 20 minutes to board) and he sprinted to go retrieve my phone. As promised, he was back within 7-8 minutes with my phone, handed it to me, informed me that he has let SMRT know that the phone was found –and wished me safe travels!
As a leadership consultant I spend many hours in the day coaching and building teams with senior clients on executive presence and dealing with ambiguity. But it was a delight to see this behaviour first hand and handled so beautifully. What really stood out for me was that
Kudos to you , your team and Air Asia. Mohammed Shairul saved me a huge business deal that day and for that I will be always grateful.
Good luck Air Asia and hope you continue to soar!
Co Founder and CEO
Kalpana Sinha is a Leadership and Organisation Professional. Her blog has reflections from her work experiences of over 20 years.