Having let people go myself in the past in my HR roles I know that it’s a fact, no one in the world enjoys doing this job. Make sure you are following all of the legal requirements and doing everything you can to support this person in the moment. And for yourself, make sure that you schedule a self-compassion break after every one of these conversations or as often as you need.
According to the research of Dr Kristin Neff, self compassion is a very important factor in overall physical and mental health, and it allows us to go through a stressful experience without compounding the stress by beating ourselves up about it.
Follow this four-step formula to help you find a moment of peace in any of the difficult moments coming up as you handle letting people go from your business.
Step 1: Take a moment to acknowledge the physical and/or emotional discomfort you might be feeling in your body. Where is it? Can you name the feelings that you’re physically having? Are the sensations warm or cold, heavy or light; is there any energy or movement? Where are they located? Take a moment to tune into your body and notice the signals that it’s giving you.
Step 2: Acknowledge to yourself that you are having a moment of suffering. It’s important not to judge this moment, or attach any extra meaning to it, but to simply acknowledge what it is that you’re feeling. You can do this by simply saying in one sentence what it is that’s going on, for example, “This is a moment of suffering’, “This feels stressful”, or “I feel upset”. Just saying those simple words to you yourself allows you to acknowledge instead of suppressing the emotion, which is a much healthier way of dealing with it.
Step 3: Acknowledge that you are having an experience that is common amongst all humans. The reality is that all of us are suffering right now or have suffered in the past. Again, search out a simple sentence that makes sense of this for you, for example: “Lots of people are feeling this way”, “We all have struggles from time to time”, “I am not alone” or, “Suffering is part of life and this will pass”.
Step 4: Place your hand over your heart and take a moment to connect with the warmth and the beating of that heart in your chest. Be gentle with yourself as you reconnect with the essence of who you really are, take a breath or two. Find a simple sentence of self-compassion, such as, “May I be kind to myself” or, “May I accept I’m doing the best I can” or, “May I be strong right now”, and repeat it as often as you need to until calmness comes to you .
By doing this technique you acknowledge the feeling mindfully; you connect to the common humanity we all share, and you allow yourself to be kinder and more patient with your own emotions.
The result will be that you won’t spiral into a negative place and you’ll be able to refocus and keep doing all the things that you need to do, to keep moving forward. Most importantly you’ll be able to be there for yourself AND your people as you go through the process.