Layoffs are painful, but a new LinkedIn post has sparked debate about who these job cuts actually impact.
After marketing firm Hypersocial was forced to lay off a portion of its employees, CEO Braden Wallake posted a “vulnerable” selfie of himself crying.
“This will be the most vulnerable thing I’ll ever share. I’ve gone back and forth whether to post this or not. We just had to layoff a few of our employees,” wrote Wallake.
“I’ve seen a lot of layoffs over the last few weeks on LinkedIn. Most of those are due to the economy, or whatever other reason. Ours? My fault.”
Last February, Wallake said he made a business decision that has led to the job cuts, although he did not specify what that choice was.
Some users on the viral post mocked Wallake for being “out of touch” while others have started a new trend satirizing his tearful photo. Others have explained that while firing people is certainly difficult for leaders, it is “more horrific for” workers.
“It’s about taking care of their welfare, not griefposting for your own likes. This is ungracious, gratuitous, insensitive and tacky,” one user wrote.
However, others came to Wallake’s defense, stating that laying off staff is indeed a grievous process and that having a manager that cares should be praised.
“To those who would look to hire me, I’m only interested in working for people like Braden Wallake who has a positive outlook on life,” said Noah Smith, a former employee of Wallake.
Wallake has since shared a follow-up post apologizing for making the firings “about me.”
Analysts believe that this viral message could be part of a larger trend of more transparent, vulnerable business leaders.
“It’s a trend, CEOs and leaders have been encouraged to be authentic and bring their real selves to work,” said André Spicer, professor of organizational behavior at Bayes Business School.