Zuckerberg, Musk and Layoffs: How to and How Not to Deliver Bad News

It is said that within every crisis lies opportunity. Making the difficult choice of conducting a large layoff faces many executives. But delivering this news need not be a reputation crisis. 

Much is written about how Elon Musk, Twitter’s new owner and CEO, and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, conducted recent layoffs. The way they shared the news offers lessons in internal communication. I’ll also draw on my experiences with this tough task. Some pointers:

1. Have a balance in your trust bank.  Given Musk’s freewheeling communication style, Twitter employees were bracing for the worst when he took the helm.  Indeed, rather than increasing trust with an all-hands meeting to discuss his vision for Twitter, Musk did the opposite. His poor handling of job cuts utterly failed to build a trust bank with employees who remain.  


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