I decided a while ago to accept as true that people are fundamentally decent and therefore I operate my enterprise with the matching mentality. I have faith that my employees, suppliers, clients and partners have intents as decent as mine. However if you operate a business there will without any reservation I can promise you there will come the time when you will have to let folks go, or terminate client connections, and even leave partnerships when it serves the most important interests of the company. These are all problematic circumstances to traverse, which is the reason I say how you approach these circumstances will help you define whether or not you have burned any bridges.
Staffers regularly have very-little info around business issues in spite of the fact that their livings may be determined by the consequences. When anything challenging is communicated to you, how you respond to it will speak volumes about the style of leader you are.
Although the fact remains that these circumstances tend to throw people off-balance, it is possible to retain composure by absorbing the data, asking all the important questions, and then by processing it at your own personal speed. Deal with the circumstances keeping your composure and calmness -- whether you reach agreement or not with the resolution. Odds are, the individual on the opposite side of the squabble will respect and appreciate how you approach a tough situation.
Here are some actions CEO’s and industry leaders naturally do to hang onto relationships in one piece through troubling times:
Live up to your end of agreements. If you owe people, pay them and if they owe you, be sure to collect it promptly, and all with honesty and integrity. If you are not being treated “in kind” though, get a third-party to mediate as feelings should at all times be kept away of the dialogue.
Treat folks with respect and benevolence before, during, and after a shift. How you approach post-event conversations, will help to decide if you have forever damaged a relationship or ended it positively, leaving open the possibility to perhaps work together yet again in the future.
If a connection gets severed and it’s imperative for you to make repairs, you must create a plan and act swiftly. Relations can be restored, if both sides are prepared to take the crucial steps in fixing it.
You can’t ever know exactly how many people are influenced by your choices, so at all times act with caution. This is exceptionally true with downsizings and terminations. Regrettably, these are naturally part of any CEO’s occupation but workers have families, life conditions or healthcare concerns that will be touched so remember to be considerate.
At times, it is not up to you if the “bridge is burned” as you sometimes just have to be okay with terminating a relationship.
I admit to making my share of gaffes in handling situations as a founder and CEO of many companies; and there’s nothing that troubles me more than an undesirably cut off relationship. Nonetheless, there is only a small number of former clients, associates, or folks I’ve employed and then let go of in life that I wouldn’t invite into my home, even to this day. Now if they would accept that invite or not would be the ultimate testament.
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About the Author: Lalanii Wilson-Jones, MBA is a dynamic business leader based in Dallas, Texas who owns & operates multiple companies across several industries. Her range of talents and experience makes her an ideal candidate for strong economic partnerships all over the world, a great mentor and a great source of information that can change the mechanics of any sized company.
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