How to fire people peacefully
The best way to let people go without creating drama…
First of all, this is the absolute worst part of my job. I have been doing this for a long time and it still sucks. It gets no easier with age or tenure. Trust me on that. It sucks having to tell people that they don’t have a future with your company.
That said… sometimes it must be done.
Here is the most humane approach.
I honor everyone I work with. That’s first. If you don’t do that, you are not a good leader. Period. You must show people respect no matter what they do or how they do it.
“I have never respected a boss or leader that didn’t show respect for me.” Think about that for a second… Have you ever respected a boss that didn’t’ show respect for you? I have saved more good people just by applying this principle. Sometimes, they just need to feel the love and respect that you can offer.
There are two reasons people don’t measure up to the job they are given. They don’t have the will or don’t have the skill to do the job you have them doing.
Case 1: they don’t have the will
In most cases, get rid of them. You can spend all sorts of wasted time trying to energize people without the will to get excited about the job and the mission you are pursuing. You don’t have the time to waste on them. Just do it. Step two.
Case 2: they don’t have the skill
If they can’t perform the job they are doing, and you like their attitude, try to find another position where they can contribute. They’ll be happy and very appreciative, if it works. If not, step two.
You decide to fire. Okay, letting people go is an art. First, you must preserve their dignity. People, no matter how bad they are, value themselves and see their contribution as valuable. Don’t fight this natural human tendency. Embrace it. Tell them they are good, but not a good fit for your situation. Find a creative way to tell them they are better off elsewhere. Don’t ever end a business employment relationship by telling people about the specific faults they have committed and relate that to their dismissal. There is no value in that for them, or for you.
Don’t drag it out. Tell them quickly that you honor them, but have to make a change, and move on. This is not a counseling session. Thank them, and move on. Done.
Well… that’s it. Firing people is not fun. But it’s a necessary part of business. You must be good at it unless your hiring record is perfect. And, if that’s the case, you don’t need to be reading this article.
Hope you have your best year ever.
- Pete McChrystal, CEO & President of Accent Technologies, Inc.