As we step into the year 2023, corporate leaders are faced with an ongoing challenge of a rapidly changing business environment. For a few of my clients, I am seeing them face a very pressing and unfortunate issue - navigating the challenge of layoffs. This has created a sense of uncertainty and fear among employees and highlighted the importance for them to navigate - purposefully,  transparently, and with care and compassion.

The Heart of the Leader

Recently, I observed one of my executive clients communicate a very difficult message to his team that 50 jobs would be eliminated. Each one of the employees in the room was directly impacted. He delivered the news clearly yet compassionately as he explained the circumstances, acknowledged the impact of the decision, and offered space & uncomfortable silence for the individuals sitting in front of him to process the news best.

He put himself in the shoes of his employees - many tenured and committed for years to the organization - and took a heart-centered approach to share the difficult news. In navigating the challenge of layoffs, he met his employees in a place of empathy, went off script a little where necessary, and did his best to hold the space they needed to receive the news. He showed up as an intentional leader during a difficult time, and his actions served as an excellent example for other executives to follow.

In my book, Lead with Heart & Leave a Legacy, I talk about my own experience as a corporate executive faced with communicating a layoff. The lack of progress against the company strategy led to a top-down decision to execute a reduction in the workforce across the organization.  

It was a heartbreaking day, but my team needed a sincere, transparent, vulnerable leader.  The experience taught me the importance of leading with care and compassion during difficult times and proved to be the best approach in minimizing impact on the people. 

Three Ways Intentional Leaders Can Minimize the Impact of Layoffs on Employees

When navigating the challenge of layoffs, intentional leaders prioritize taking steps to minimize the impact on their employees. They do this by adopting a heart-led approach that focuses on transparency, compassion, and being connected.

Here are three things that intentional leaders do when navigating the challenge of layoffs:

  1. Communicate with Transparency
    When communicating with employees, leaders who want to navigate layoffs effectively must be transparent and honest. It is essential to clearly explain the reasons behind the layoffs and what steps the organization is taking to help affected employees. This can help alleviate some of the anxiety and uncertainty often accompanying layoffs.
  2. Show Deep Care & Concern
    It is important for leaders to show empathy and compassion towards their employees during these difficult times. This means taking the time to listen to employees, acknowledging their emotions, and showing genuine concern for their well-being. Leaders can demonstrate this by providing support and resources to employees during and after the layoffs.
  3. Pay Attention to Remaining Workers' Concerns
    After a layoff, the remaining employees may feel overwhelmed, anxious, and uncertain about their own future with the organization. It's important for leaders to pay attention to their concerns and make personal connections to understand how they are really doing. Leaders can organize one-on-one meetings, hold group discussions, and encourage open communication channels to create a space where employees can express their feelings, ask questions, and share their thoughts. This approach can also help identify potential issues and areas for improvement within the organization.

The Power of Intentional Leadership

For my executive client, how he chose to communicate the devastating news influenced how those individuals reacted and accelerated their ability to process through the change. While life-changing, they felt supported and mirrored their leader's calm sense of commitment.

The year 2023 will continue to present many challenges for corporate leaders, including the ongoing issue of layoffs. By communicating transparently, showing care and compassion, and being mindful of the concerns of their remaining employees, corporate leaders can navigate the challenge of layoffs while minimizing employee impact and fostering a culture that will thrive in the years to come.

If you are a corporate leader looking to develop intentional leadership skills in your organization and cultivate a culture of care and compassion even in the most challenging of times, I invite you to work with me

Looking Back Over the Past 5 Years of Business Ownership

I recently read a statistic: only 50% of businesses are still operating after 5 years. So, I quickly did some math and discovered that I established my LLC and took my first client after leaving the corporate world in 2017. Looks like I’m officially five years in – I made it!

My passion for leadership development began in my work at Catalina, and after some life-changing events, I left 70-hour work weeks to follow that passion. I knew I wanted more autonomy, flexibility, and fulfillment, and I wanted to make an even bigger impact. I wanted to take my experience and share it with other grow-minded leaders. So I started my company, named White Cap Coaching with inspiration from my kids (representing the things we love to do as a family – be on the water and in the mountains) and grew it from the ground up. 

The topic of leadership resonated with me so much I wrote an entire book about it – Lead with Heart & Leave a Legacy.

And over the past 5 years, I’ve led my company through multiple evolutions. I’ve refined my messaging, impact, and moved from what I knew – traditional corporate speak (the male CEOs I worked with and for over the years taught me well!) – to a more authentic, relatable and intentional message. Now, my messaging matches my experiences and, most importantly, the unique and meaningful value and service that only I can provide to my amazing clients. 

Learning the Keys to Business

I cannot believe it has been 5 years already! I have connected with so many wonderful, intentional leaders and learned so much from them, and I’ve practiced specific strategies for success to help me stay focused and set me up for success

As a solopreneur with a mission to support leaders as they define their own legacy of leadership for a happy, successful, and fulfilling life and career, I’ve learned quite a few things along the way. And today, I’d love to share the 5 keys to business that I’ve unlocked at this point in my business.

1. Show up for the right reasons – and do so unapologetically

In the early days, I was caught in the trap of looking at others who were further along their path. I thought if I emulated what I saw them doing, it would accelerate my success. 

But the truth is that comparing yourself to others knocks you off track from your true purpose. Comparison is the fastest way to forget the reason you started your business to begin with.

For me, it was to help leaders find simplicity in the complex and to be in service to them to find fulfillment, meaning & impact in their roles as leaders and in their lives as beautiful, whole people. Comparison can be evil. I learned that the faster path to success happened when I wasn’t worried about what others thought, or how others perceive me. I learned to practice finding inspiration in others’ successes while staying aligned to the path I was on without any apology for it. 

2. Progress not perfection 

I quickly realized that if I spent too much time trying to perfect what I was working on, I would never move forward. My business has changed in mind blowing ways since it began. 

Over the years, I’ve changed my:

Trying to perfect everything was a distraction from the true work I needed to do. Instead of creating something perfect, stay in motion and keep moving forward – refining and improving as you go.

3. One of my favorite keys to business? Find ease… not easy 

Starting your own business, especially as a solopreneur, requires a lot. The path will never be easy, but it can involve more ease. 

I was working 70 hours a week in the corporate world, and I easily carried that bad habit into my new business at first. But I had to remind myself that I started this business to be different, to enjoy my work, to have more time and freedom.

Starting your own business isn’t easy but there should be some ease associated. Once I figured out how to stay in flow and connected to the work that I was doing and the impact I was making, I felt a lot more ease. It was also important that I operated in alignment, modeling what I was teaching my clients in my own work and business.

4. Intention in all you do 

Intention is a huge reason my business has thrived for five years! In my work, intention shows up in every aspect of what I do: 

Showing up with intention helps me stay in alignment, be flexible with my work, and know when to pivot. 

5. Celebrating your wins is one of the most surprising keys to business 

This month as I celebrate my 5 years in business, I am privileged to gather with clients, colleagues, and friends to celebrate this accomplishment and thank those who supported me along the way. 

The journey has not always been easy, there have been many ups and downs (including a significant health scare!) but starting my own business and following my passion has been one of the biggest wins of all. Over the past 5 years, whenever work became stressful and busy or something did not go my way, I often forgot to count the wins. 

But celebrating even the small wins matters. All of those tiny victories have contributed to my overall success – helping me become a better leader and entrepreneur. 

My journey to unlocking the keys to business

I started my business journey investing 25 years in the same company, learning 7 leadership lessons.

And now 5 years into my business as a solopreneur, I’m sharing the 5 keys to business I’ve discovered so far.

These milestones are the perfect opportunity to reflect on my experience and share all I’ve learned. 

I’m endlessly grateful for the people I’ve met, the leaders I’ve coached, the lives I’ve changed, and the business I’ve created. Cheers to the next five years as a small business owner!

Leading with your heart intentionally.

I have a unique vantage point to the impact of this global pandemic. As a coach, I have had the privilege to support a number of clients as they maneuver through these unchartered waters.

From the manufacturing company who has an emerging growth opportunity from the epidemic and is struggling to keep up with demand, to the hospitality client who furloughed the majority of their corporate staff, to the local small business that had to close their doors after 25 years, to the national nonprofit who turned on a dime to focus all their own resources to helping other nonprofits simply try to survive.

While these organizations are all distinctive sizes, industries, communities and all impacted very differently by this unexpected crisis, there is one thing they have in common.

The most empathetic, heart-centered and ultimately effective leadership is being demonstrated most often among their front-line leaders.

Leadership Qualities

Those managers and directors who are out in front – interacting daily with the employees executing the work and supporting the customer - are the ones showing the care, compassion & connection that is so critical right now. 

According to a new report from NordVPN, the average workday in the US has increased by almost 40% since mid-March...that’s an extra 3 hours per day! Shelter-in-place orders have forced work from home and people are starting their days earlier and ending at the same time or even later. The boundaries between home life and work life are blurred and to make matters worse, the challenges associated with minimizing environmental distractions, zoom fatigue, and homeschooling guilt has the average employee experiencing a 10-20% reduction in productivity on any given day.

So how are people you lead feeling? 

Job satisfaction is decreasing, stress levels are increasing, and work environments are emotionally charged. Not surprising given all that we are taking in and experiencing 24/7 around this global pandemic.

 So who “gets” it?

Higher up in the organization, the tendency seems to be to lead with a heavy hand – directive approach, quick reaction, the crossing of boundaries, lack of empathy – and worse yet, not leading at all and missing opportunities to communicate hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Where I see leaders with fundamental awareness and authentic appreciation for the emotional and physical toll that social distancing and shelter-at-home is taking, is where I see the greatest stories of connected and intentional leadership.

Resilient Leadership

It is the customer service manager, the digital director, the senior account manager who are interacting daily with front-line employees in the work that is most in tune and taking the approach most necessary - people 1st, company 2nd, self 3rd.

  • Like the leader who holds weekly town hall meetings dubbed “zooming in” where she gives timely and relevant biz updates and encourages Q&A among her global team over zoom video conference
  • Like the leader who schedules 15-minute coffee breaks throughout the week so her team has a reason to get untethered from their desk to join a light-hearted, nonbusiness call from their patio, on a walk with their dog, from their kitchen with a cup of coffee
  • Like the leader who hosts “office hours” the same day/time each week to ensure she is accessible for anyone needing extra “face” time with their boss
  • Like the leader who sets up a group text with his 22 furloughed team members so he could send inspirational messages and quick company updates every other day
  • Like the leader who sends e-cards for birthdays and service anniversaries in order to recognize these milestones even though they are not physically in the office

These are some great examples of intentional leadership

So what else can be done to improve leadership qualities?

There is one more important thing you can be doing to engage employees and help them with a sustainable performance mindset through this difficult timeAsk one important question...

Being a cheerleader, encouraging fun, and spreading positivity is nice, but can be short-lived. In answering the question of unexpected blessings, we are moved to a mindset of gratitude which is much more sustaining and can appropriately help your people focused forward toward better days.

Through my work, I have curated some intentional practices of what’s working well for leaders in leading their teams remotely through this uncertain time ==>

The 3 C's of Leadership: Confidence, Communication, Community

Think about how you are putting these strategies into practice with your teams. And for more details & examples around these strategies or help with additional ideas on to how to best support your teams, reach out to me directly. I would love to help.

Virtual HIGH FIVE to those front-line leaders who are committed to intentionally engaging the hearts and minds of their people, especially right now when it is needed most 💜

The last few months have been a true awakening and forced us to recognize what is most important in our lives. 

Similar to the personal health crisis I faced a few short years ago, for all of us, this global health crisis is bringing our priorities into focus - health, family, relationships, time, happiness; and creating an inventory of what we need to be strong and prepared to continue to push through.

This defining moment in history and in our lives has made us more aware of what changes are needed.   

  • For those always in control of everything - they have been forced to let go and narrow their focus to those few things they can control. Liberating and freeing in so many ways.
  • For those addicted to the adrenaline rush associated with being on the hamster wheel of life – they have been forced to slow down and allow their thoughts to surface. No longer able to quiet their mind by being on the go.
  • For those who took relationships for granted, only concerned with their own agenda, getting what they needed, and moving on – they have been forced to work harder to access relationships. Intentional in building deeper connections to advance the ball forward.
  • For those who have been blindly walking through life, taking the expected path but not quite feeling happy or fulfilled – they have been forced to face their fear and challenge their comfort zone. Inspired to take a step toward change and more joyful life.

Let’s face it…many of us have spent a good part of our lives waiting for the inspiration to do something different, to make a bold change. This world crisis is a defining moment and it is accelerating the shift. 

Do you want more meaning and inspiration in your life and career?

Now is the best time to take yourself out of what you do, the job you are in, the path you are on, the success you are tied to, and focus on the things that inspire you and that give you energy. It is up to you to create your own inspiration.

This doesn’t mean that you have to walk into the boss’ office tomorrow and quit, abandon your current business or make a complete career transition.

If you want to make a change but don’t know where to start, don’t know what you really want, or are fearful of leaving old measures of success behind, there are a few things you can do to take control and take the first steps:

  1. Find Capacity – Give yourself the space to let in new thinking. Think about the areas of your life that are draining your mental real estate. What worries zap your energy? If you cleared then out, would it create the room you need to make a change? What is the one thing that needs to be considered or resolved for you to progress?
  2. Define Who You Want To Be – Get in tune with who you are when you are happiest and most fulfilled. Think about a time when you were operating at your best. What strengths and characteristics did you leverage effortlessly?
  3. Act – Take small steps toward your goals. What do you need to do as part of the preparation for making changes? List these things and start acting on them.

You have options and there is no better time to define your success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you're PROUD AND INSPIRED to live...

If you are feeling ready to face your fears and take the first brave step forward toward a more meaningful and fulfilling life and career, please join my next zoom webinar on June 9: Redefining Success: The First Steps Toward Change.  I will share more detail on how you can take back control and introduce you to the 8 Steps in creating a one-of-a-kind Heart-centered Women's Blueprint to re-engineer all aspects of your life and increase confidence and satisfaction in your career & your next great chapter overall.


Engaged and inspired by smart business leaders who manage it all, personally and professionally, Tricia plays the role of coach, accountability partner, advisor, and consultant. Drawing on experiences, skills, and HEART, Tricia helps others elevate their leadership and develop new possibilities in how they show up and how they engage every day.

Tricia Manning © 2024 All Rights Reserved.
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