Guilt-free Firing

“Firing that person was the best thing I did for our office culture.” 

“I’ve had people I’ve had to let go come back and thank me.” 

These are some of the things I’ve heard from managers. 

Have you ever known that someone needed to be fired, but waited to do so because 
   you were afraid you were wrong, 
   you thought you’d be perceived as mean, 
   or you just felt too guilty? 

It’s time to separate yourself from the negative emotional responsibility of letting someone go, 
and realize the positive consequences of firing someone 
*for everyone involved.* 

Firing someone doesn’t need to be the worst part of your day. 

It can be a tool of empowerment, education, and kindness. 

That’s right...kindness. 

At its core, firing someone is like breaking off a romantic relationship. 
When you know it’s over, but you continue to lead them on, you do them a disservice. 
It’s far better to break it off and give them to opportunity to find someone who is a better fit, 
someone who will make them happy in ways you can’t. 

This is oversimplified, but it illuminates the disservice we do as leaders 
when employees who need to be let go are kept on too long out of our feelings of responsibility or guilt. 

Not only does being fired empower that employee to find a better fit 
at another company or even within another career, 
it sends the following important feedback to the rest of the workforce: 

            culture is important, 

            employees are valued, 

            expectations will not be compromised, 

            and actions have consequences. 

Culture 

            A good culture is hard to build and must be protected once you have it.  
            If someone is unaligned with the business mission, vision, or culture, they will negatively affect the culture. 

Value 

            Most likely, other employees are having to do more work to compensate for an employee who needs to be let go. 
            Show your employees that you value their time and energy by hiring someone that will be a better fit. 

Expectations 

            Firing those who don’t meet your expectations of professional behavior, deadline adherence, or work quality/quantity 
            lets others know that those things are truly important to you. 

            People like to have clear expectations, so tell them and show them. 

Consequences 

            Consistenty enforcing your boundaries and creating consequences for grievous actions
            allows employees to feel comfortable with your expectations. 
            No, it's not better to "keep people on their toes" with mixed messages.  It's stressful.

            You must teach people how to treat you. 

Firing, when done with respect and careful consideration, is one of the most empowering tools a leader can have 
because of these positive results. 

To keep someone employed out of a sense of guilt or insecurity only cheats that person, 
as well as your other employees and the business.     

You can’t attract what you need if you’re holding onto something you don’t. 

            

            

            

           

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