Hey, just to let you know. Today I had to fire one person and tell the rest of my team that they were all going on a non-voluntary 3 week vacation starting the beginning of January. It was not an easy task (certainly not in English let alone in French, a language I am by no means fluent in) but I followed your advice and I found it to be spot on.
It helped immensely, not just with my own nerves as letting people go is not something I am experienced at, but I think it helped others hear the information as well. People are, of course, tougher in these situations than many are given credit for but it still hurts both the person giving the information and the person receiving. Yet your advice brought a measure of dignity to the situation.
I was able to use it to frame the message better, not too cold but not too sympathetic either. I think it was important for me to learn that in this situation a person’s dignity is not necessarily upheld by treating them too softly. One should be, though, open and receptive to sharing this pain if it feels like the space is being offered, needed.
I think people can and do find strength in the one who is delivering difficult news. A manager needs to be that for other people and to do that a manager must overcome him/herself. Being less emotional than one feels, a manager is in effect making a kind of self sacrifice (in those cases that the manager actually feels emotional). I certainly was emotional and had to come to grips with the reality of what was needed of me and not cave to what I thought was expected of me as a sympathetic human being or to what I was feeling at the moment. It was counter intuitive but once I adopted the right disposition, I found that I was in fact being a better manager for them by adopting that role. So all of that is just to say thanks. It was some of the most useful and applicable advice I have gotten from someone. You showed your capacity to accompany me from a distance and that is a rare thing.