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Manager's Corner - Be Nice: Fire 'Em!
By Liz Weber.
Thursday, 24th July 2008
 
We've all had this experience at least once in our professional lives: We've held off firing an employee because we didn't want to be mean.

We didn't want to hurt the person's feelings, cause more disruption in his or her personal life, or we simply didn't want to have that difficult conversation.

So, we didn't. We kept a poor performer on our payroll. Besides, it's better to have someone than no one right?

Wrong! It's wrong and deep down we know it. We know it because we hear other employees complain about the poor performers. We know it because we've seen the barely acceptable work they produce. We know it because we spend more time focusing on them, their mistakes, and their disruptions than we spend coordinating activities with our strong employees. We spend our time doing their jobs instead of our own.

In addition, we also have this nagging feeling that there's more 'going on' than we realize. And, there usually is. It's the same old tip-of-the-iceberg adage. When we see an iceberg in the water, we only see the tip. Any wise captain knows that the bulk of the iceberg is below the surface readily capable of smashing into a ship's hull and sinking the ship. A problem employee's overt behaviors are typically only the tip of their performance issues. When we take the time to look deeper, a clearer picture of their limitations and dangers to our company become apparent.

They may be the initial contact a customer has with our company -- and they may be driving customers away. They may be in charge of our customer databases -- and they may be allowing files to be corrupted and our future sales prospects stymied. They may be working with some of our most dedicated employees -- and causing them frustration, irritation, and more work.

One of the best pieces of advice I received as a young manager was, "Sometimes you have to terminate an employee to 'force' her to find a job more suited to her personality, skills, and ambitions. If she's not happy here, be nice and 'help' her look for happiness someplace else." Does it make terminating an employee easy? No. But it helps. And it's the right thing to do.

The next time you need to do your job as a manager, remember to be nice and fire an employee when it's the right thing
to do for your company, your other employees, your customers, and maybe even for them.

Copyright 2008 - Liz Weber, CMC - Weber Business Services, LLC. WBS is a team of Strategic Planning and Leadership Development Consultants, Trainers, and Speakers. Liz can be reached at liz@wbsllc.com or (717)597-8890. www.liz-weber.com
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