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Grief Creates Friction

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Grief creates friction. Layoffs create friction. They cause uncertainty, sadness, and fear.

Trust removes friction and builds connection and effectiveness.

How do you cultivate trust during grief or a layoff?

Try these simple assuming practices that can help.

🌟Assume that your employees can do their job. Look, most of us want to do work. Fear makes us do less than optimal work. Your employee is probably really good at what they do.

Grief can have a long tail. Assume grief is in the way until someone proves you wrong.

🌟 Assume good intent. Set new competencies. (For yourself and your team!) A layoff can make you short-tempered, illogical (I.e., The employee, who has never demonstrated an ability to do a specific task, can take on the former employee's duties and do it just as well), and fearful. The quality of your interactions will suffer. Assuming good intent can mitigate the damage.

🌟 Don't assume anything else. In other words, don't makeup stories! When dealing with a grieving team, don't tell yourself a specific team is "having a hard time" or they aren't grieving because you haven't seen them cry." When employees don't behave how you expect after an employee dies, defaulting to curiosity and asking questions will become some of your most powerful leadership tools!

🧐 Remember, it's not just about you trusting them; it's about them trusting you. If one side stops trusting, the other will soon follow.

Look, managing your assumptions takes work. It requires a level of self-awareness that needs practice. But as you practice, the trust will grow. And an engaged and effective team will follow.

How do you practice trust on your team? Comment below.

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