The CEO then sparked a huge online debate posts a selfie himself crying on LinkedIn after being fired from his company.
Braden Wallake, who runs Ohio-based business-to-business marketing agency Hypersocial, shared the photo on Wednesday.
Since then, the post has received over 6,700 comments and nearly 33,000 reactions.
“This is going to be the most sensitive thing I’ll ever share. I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not to post this. We just had to lay off a few employees. I’ve seen a lot of layoffs lately. A few weeks on LinkedIn. Most of them are economic or otherwise. it’s about the cause. Our fault? Wallack wrote alongside a photo of tears streaming down her face.
Wallack says he made the decision in February that resulted in the layoffs. He has not yet revealed what that decision is, but he has said on LinkedIn that he plans to do so in the future.
Describing the layoffs as the “hardest thing” he’s ever had to do, Wallack said he loves his employees and wishes he had “a business that’s only driven by money and doesn’t care who it hurts along the way.”
Some LinkedIn users mocked Wallack’s post, calling it “out of touch” and “cringe worthy” or suggesting that he should focus on helping his former employees rather than how the situation affected him.
“Please. It’s horrible for you to fire people, but it’s worse for them. It’s not about feeling sorry for your loved ones, it’s about caring for their well-being. It’s cruel, unselfish, sensitive, and clingy. Grow up, look at those people. You pretend you care too much, own up to your mistakes and stop being so narcissistic,” one commenter wrote.
Others supported Wallack, saying they understand that firing people is an emotional process and praised his openness.
This includes one of his former employees, Noah Smith defended his former boss and said he would only want to work for managers like him.
“To anyone who wants to hire me, I’m only interested in working for people who have a positive outlook on life like Braden Wallake. If you’re ONLY thinking about working more hours to make more money, I’m not interested in working for you. It’s the most valuable way to spend your time.”
Wallake followed up his original message with a post that said: “Hi everyone, yes I am the crying CEO. No, I didn’t mean to make this about me or make myself a victim. I’m sorry it came across that way. .” .”
“It was not my place to release the names of the employees publicly,” he said. “What I want to do now is try to improve this situation and start a thread for people looking for work.”
Hypersocial was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.
Andre Spicer, professor of organizational behavior at the Bayes School of Business, told CNBC that the paper is not surprising given current management trends.
“It’s a trend, CEOs and leaders are encouraged to be authentic and bring their true selves to work,” Spicer said. “It shows your real emotions and real reactions, and people are encouraged to show that through a lot of current management thinking…so it’s not surprising.”
He added that Wallake navigates a delicate balancing act between being too original and not original enough — sometimes referred to as limited originality.
“Ideally, what this guy should do is use some kind of limited authenticity, where he’s a little bit honest about what he’s done wrong, and he’ll admit it, but then not turn it into a pity party about himself, basically.”