Have you ever struggled with the decision to fire someone? I think we all have. After 22 years of successfully running businesses I’ve got ten things for you to consider that will help you make your decision when you are asking yourself whether to fire or not to fire.
It’s time to fire someone, liberate them, or let them off the bus, when you’ve done everything you can as a leader OR if you are sure they cannot or will not make the positive change(s) you need them to make. If they’re not willing or they’re not able, they have to go.
I need to remind you – remember to know and adhere to all employment standards and human rights rules! Always consult an employment lawyer (like the INCREDIBLE one our VIPs get free access to in our TMH VIP Mastermind Community) before letting someone go. You do not want to spend any time defending a claim against you. You have far more enjoyable and valuable things to do with your time!
Here are 10 considerations to help you decide whether to fire or not to fire.
- Ask yourself if you’ve done the things below and done them fully, completely, and consistently. You need to make sure for all things you have a procedure and process in place. Especially when it comes to firing, you cannot make these decisions based on emotion and how you are feeling. You need to make well thought out, systemized, decisions when it comes to whether to fire or not to fire.
- Be 100% IN on your decision. You have to believe in them and be 100% committed to coaching and keeping them, or not. If you expect them to fail they don’t stand a chance. *You have to change your inner thoughts, as well as the way you act because you cannot fake this! They have no chance if you’re not 100% in.
- Coach them with conversations and not confrontations. You never have to have a confrontation again because you have YOUR TOOLS!!!
- Be kind, calm, and emotionally intelligent. Be compassionate. Let your tools do the work.
- Utilize your tools (policies, procedures, culture statements, signed agreements/contracts, previous verbal or written warnings, KPIs, job descriptions) so you don’t have to do the heavy lifting. Remain kind, calm, and compassionate. Coach them. These tools are so important when having coaching conversations.
- Expect GREAT THINGS. See them in a new way. You get what you expect! This will also help you to be 100% in with them, kind, calm, and emotionally intelligent!
- Start with sorry! Apologize for any part of the situation that you can take accountability for. This will help them realize you’re there to solve a problem, that you are taking accountability (not just blaming them), and help to lower their defensive “walls.” For example, you could apologize for taking so long to have this conversation, or for not being clear in the past (ie job description, KPIs, policies, procedures, or employment contract.) For more on the importance of apology, check out this article from Forbes.
- Have an agenda for conversations! In meetings, and even simple short conversations, make sure to clearly outline the agenda and DESIRED OUTCOME – which should be the same for both of you. The DESIRED OUTCOME for both of you is that everyone represents the company well and everyone is happy at work: clients and team members.
- Make sure the expectations are 100% clear for the team member; make sure they could not be any clearer, and that THEY understand them and how to achieve them. This means job descriptions, KPIs, monthly KPI meetings, procedures, policies, etc. Remember, it’s easy to teach in our learning style instead of theirs, or appreciate them in OUR appreciation style instead of theirs, unless we’re INTENTIONAL… and of course, if we know their learning style and appreciation style! Also, over-communicate! You can never assume that someone understands what you’re thinking with so many variables in our lives! Each person has their own history, viewpoints, experiences, and “lenses” that they see things through. So over-communicate to make sure they’re clear on expectations!
- Implement progressive discipline when a team member violates or doesn’t achieve a policy, procedure, job description, KPI, or another tool. This means you give a verbal warning for a specific violation. Then, if it happens again you give a written warning, if it happens a third time you give another written warning, and finally, if it happens again you terminate them. *Ensure you consult your lawyer before terminating anyone, and make sure your termination procedure is solid, legal, and ensure you won’t end up having to deal with a claim from employment standards, human rights, or otherwise.
In business, as we improve in all areas, we always want to go 10 steps back and ask “how could I prevent this from happening again?” or “how could I have prevented this person from being hired?” Maybe there is something specific to think back to like, what in your interviews would have identified their weakness/tendency? Or, looking back maybe you realize you needed to conduct better reference checks.
So, if you feel that as a leader you have given your ALL, and by ALL I mean the 10 points we covered above, then yes, it may be time to “liberate” them. I know it’s the WORST part of leadership but it may be the wake-up call they need to be more self-aware, emotionally intelligent, or just to go find a better opportunity for themselves!