Supporting leaders through the emotional challenge of redundancy

Outplacement 4

In the intricate landscape of staff redundancy, the emotional well-being of those steering through the process often takes a back seat. This oversight not only impacts the leaders directly involved but also ripples through the entire team. In this segment of our series, we shed light on the emotional burden shouldered by managers and leaders during redundancy. More importantly, we delve into essential strategies aimed at supporting these leaders, ensuring they navigate the emotionally charged process with empathy and resilience.

Understanding the emotional toll on leaders:

Redundancy isn’t just about numbers; it’s about people. Managers tasked with delivering the news find themselves in a challenging position, where professional responsibilities intersect with the personal impact on their team members. The weight on leadership shoulders is substantial, as they become the bearers of unwelcome news, often facing a mix of empathy for those affected and the responsibility to maintain team morale.

Strategies for supporting leaders:

  1. Clear and transparent communication:

Effective communication is the foundation of navigating redundancy emotionally. Leaders must foster an environment of openness, honesty and transparency. Addressing concerns openly and providing clear explanations for decisions can help alleviate the emotional burden on both leaders and their teams.

  1. Empathy training and emotional support:

Leadership doesn’t always come with a manual for navigating emotions. Empathy training and access to emotional support resources can equip leaders with the tools they need to connect with their teams on a human level. This ensures that leaders are not just delivering news but are genuinely understanding and supportive during this challenging time.

  1. Creating a support network:

Leaders need support too. Establishing a network where leaders can share experiences, seek advice, and offer support to one another creates a community of understanding. This network can be a valuable resource for leaders to lean on during emotionally charged periods.

  1. Providing professional guidance:

Leaders may also benefit from professional guidance on navigating the emotional aspects of redundancy. Coaching and mentoring can help leaders develop strategies for maintaining their own emotional well-being while effectively guiding their teams through the process.


Recognising and addressing the emotional toll on leaders during staff redundancy is paramount. By implementing strategies such as clear communication, empathy training, creating support networks, and providing professional guidance, businesses can ensure their leaders navigate the emotionally charged process with resilience and compassion. In the next part of our series, we will explore the practical benefits of outplacement services, shedding light on the tools and resources available to both businesses and their departing staff.

Case study: Navigating emotional strain – the journey through redundancy

Meet Simon, a dedicated manager thrust into the challenging role of leading his team through the emotionally charged process of staff redundancy. As the bearer of unwelcome news, Simon found himself entangled in a web of empathy, responsibility, and the need to maintain team morale. This detailed case study sheds light on the nuanced challenges Simon faced and the practical strategies that were employed to assist him in navigating this intricate emotional terrain.

Simon’s dilemma: a manager caught between empathy and stability:

In the lead-up to staff redundancy, Simon grappled with a profound emotional dilemma. With a deep understanding of the personal impact on his team members, he felt a genuine empathy that extended beyond professional duty. However, Simon also faced the weighty responsibility of maintaining stability within the team amidst the uncertainty of impending changes. This internal conflict took a toll on Simon, affecting not only his professional responsibilities but also his own emotional well-being.

Activities implemented to support Simon:

Individual Coaching Sessions:

Simon engaged in one-on-one coaching sessions with a professional experienced in managing the emotional challenges of redundancy. These sessions provided Simon with a confidential space to express his concerns, explore coping strategies, and gain insights into effective communication during challenging times.

Team-building and bonding activities:

Recognising the need for cohesion within the team, a series of team-building activities were organised. These activities, ranging from informal virtual coffee sessions to structured team-building exercises, aimed to foster a sense of unity and support among the team members, allowing Simon to lead a more connected and resilient group.

Leadership empathy workshops:

Simon participated in specialised workshops focused on enhancing leadership empathy during difficult situations. These workshops included scenario-based training, role-playing exercises, and discussions on effective emotional communication, empowering Simon with the skills needed to navigate the emotional complexities of redundancy.

Outcome: Navigating with empathy and resilience:

The tailored support provided to Simon yielded positive outcomes. The individual coaching sessions equipped him with practical strategies to manage his emotional responses and communicate empathetically. Team-building activities strengthened the bond within the team, providing a supportive environment for both Simon and his colleagues. The leadership empathy workshops enhanced Simon’s ability to lead with understanding and resilience.


Simon’s journey through the emotionally charged process of staff redundancy highlights the impact of tailored support activities. By combining individual coaching, team-building initiatives, and specialised leadership workshops, Simon not only successfully guided his team through the challenging period but also emerged as a more empathetic and resilient leader. This case study exemplifies the tangible benefits of proactive support in nurturing the emotional well-being of leaders during times of organisational change.

Links to help jobseekers in New Zealand

Seek New Zealand – A prominent job search platform providing job listings, advice and resources.

Trade Me – Trading and job search platform with job listings. – A comprehensive online resource provided by the New Zealand government to support individuals in their career planning and development.

Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) – Provides information on redundancy support, financial assistance and services available for both employers and employees.

LinkedIn – Create a profile and use the platform to network and find job alerts.