This study examines whether a responsible downsizing strategy and employee-oriented leadership are complementary in strengthening firm performance after downsizing. This study investigated 154 firms that have used an organizational downsizing strategy with surveys and follow-up focus groups. Results of both the empirical evidence and qualitative data demonstrates that for firms adopting an employee-oriented leadership style, the level of responsible downsizing strategy is high and firm performance is significantly increased. Specifically, the results of the focus groups indicate that a responsible downsizing strategy deepens the loyalty and faith of employees to their employer. These theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.