Covid has turned small business owners into human punching bags
A number of factors were at play. The technology team that he was working in was not working as a team, and were working as silos, often with conflicting views. Our technology was behind schedule by 5 months and no matter how much their manager asked them to work together as a team and find a solution, it just wasn't happening.
On top of that, there were some errors with caused the company a lot of money and transferring a salary from Australia to the United States with the Australian dollar as it is just became too much for a startup.
Trying times for small business ownersIn the end, the person's direct manager made the decision, which I supported.
It is very trying times for small business owners as well as employees right now. Emotions are running high and people are probably saying and doing things that at a later date they may regret. It's easy to blame someone else for your feelings - we've all done it at some time. If a small business owner puts you off during this period of time because of financial reasons or performance issues, it is easy to go on a rampage of attack against that person. It's their fault.
In this day and age this rampage is online and it comes with little repercussion. The word "anonymous" allows for people to not only attack people but slander them and blacken their names, without having to justify whether it is true or not. Some people will believe this slander and some will not. Those who do not usually know how this works and realize that it says something about the person writing it and little about who they are writing about, particularly if you are in a professional industry.
Blame isn't a good game to playI never blame people for this type of attack. They feel better even if it is for a few minutes. Most likely, they had no-one guiding them growing up that taught them right from wrong or how to conduct themselves. It's a school yard type of behaviour but if you are not aware of your own actions, it's hard to make sound decisions and a lack of empathy ensures that you don't think about someone else's feelings.
There is no good way to put someone off or to manage redundancies other than to be professional, mindful of how people are feeling, offer support and encouragement, and provide access to recruiters, counsellors and any other service that may help them through what will be a rough period of time.
When people act out, it's best to be kind and show empathy. For me this is easy because I am fascinated by psychology and use this understanding to manage how I react to situations. If you can show empathy and compassion for people and understand that we don't all react the same way and much of the time it has to do with our upbringing, sense of entitlement and how we have always dealt with what can feel like rejection.
Pandemic or performance?For small business owners who are doing it tough, the reaction from an employee being put off due to either financial reasons, the pandemic or performance issues is another blow. It's hard when everything is coming tumbling down and you are trying your best to get through it, to be faced with aggressive behaviour, slander, online attacks and more. It's just another thing that is being thrown at you at this time.
We all hope that we employ people that are professional and conduct themselves as such, but the truth is that people often show their emotional state only when put in situations that they cannot control.
As a small business owner:
- Always stay professional in your approach.
- Even if someone is attacking you, don't attack back or respond.
- Focus on the positives that a person brings to the table when going through this period. They don't need to be reminded of what they didn't do, or couldn't do.
- Give them time to digest what has happened and support them in any way possible.
- Provide a reference that focuses on their strengths. Where they are weak may not be the same for their next employer.
- Communicate to your team with full transparency and honesty.
- Celebrate their tenure with your company.
- Whatever act of kindness you can do no matter what is thrown at you, do it. You will sleep well at night.
- It's not fair to be let off during the pandemic with fewer employment opportunities but sometimes companies have no choice.
- Companies have to think about all staff not just one or two, so it is unfortunate if you are the one or two.
- You will get through this period of time. Don't be afraid to use counselling to help you deal with your feelings.
- Being put off is not being rejected. Read everything you can online to help you better understand the difference.
- The best way to get through this is to take time out for yourself, and do things that make you calm.
- Everytime life knocks you down, get back up and do it fast. Fix your CV and start applying for jobs. Put your best foot forward.
- Try to not take it personally. It's not personal. There are millions of people in the same place you are in right now.
It's trying times and everyone deserves to be treated with respect, kindness and fairness. I've spoken to many people who have been put off and they have been incredibly measured and smart about what they are doing moving forward.
- They see it as part of their journey
- They know it isn't their fault and it's not personal
- They use this time to better themselves, do online courses and learn
- They increase their networks and put a positive foot forward
- Their LinkedIn is up to date
- They understand their personal brand and are working on marketing that