Layoffs suck—for the person who is being laid off, but also for the person delivering the bad news. The decision to lay off employees can be even more difficult for leaders who have established a trusting relationship with their employees—raising the uncomfortable question of whether building trust with employees is actually a liability during challenging times.
How can you as a leaders make sure that, even when you have to lay off valued team members, you do so in a way that preserves as much trust as possible—both with the employees who will be leaving and with the rest of the team?
The key is to keep in mind decades of research demonstrating that genuine trust is built on three cornerstones:
1. benevolence, or a genuine concern for the fair treatment and well-being of others;
2. honesty, or a commitment to telling the truth and keeping promises;
3. competence, or a knowledge of what skills are required to do the job and the ability to meet or exceed expectations for those skills.