Being a Good Boss Means Not Being Afraid to Fire; #TChat Recap

Everybody likes to be liked. Most colleagues and bosses that I’ve worked with do. To a fault, which makes it very difficult when dealing with those who need dealing with.

Those who need to be written up and eventually fired.

For those who don’t care about being liked, in particular the bosses, most still don’t deal with confrontation very well and hence don’t fire. Well. Or at all. This of course is all anecdotal, but I bet most of you agree, and we’ve all seen the surveys and the research that validates.

The overall consensus last night during #TChat was that this “fear of firing” affects business performance detrimentally, because not only do poor performers topple the bottom line by falling flat on it, they also affect their co-workers and others in the business, which then creates a domino effect of further poor performance. And if they’re customer facing in any way, then there’s another affront to growth and revenue.

We didn’t really define “poor performance,” but that can include the inability to complete assigned tasks to being a toxic employee. Because which is more important when considering termination: cultural fit or performance? I say performance and lack thereof. I’ve hired great cultural fits who don’t perform (or can’t in that position).

There was a contingent last night who thought if the cultural fit was there, performance issues can be resolved. Maybe. Maybe not. Too many variables and if you cram a lazy square peg into a virtual round hole and then ask them to handle customer services calls from home…

Ultimately it’s the immediate supervisor’s responsibility to initiate the termination process, and why they must document performance and have 1-on-1’s beyond the annual review. I wrote a post last month titled Did you get that last part? Don’t be afraid to fire. Period. where I recommended the following:

  • Create formal and informal employee learning networks for mentoring and career development.
  • Empower, develop and train the average employees so as to develop a more productive workforce.
  • Allow employees in training to dial up and down their roles and responsibilities.
  • Recruit and hire those with high potential — FT, PT, contractor, etc.
  • Reward the high potentials and high producers.
  • Don’t be afraid to fire those who can’t be empowered, developed or trained.

By no means am I an expert in this area, but based on my experience recruiting, training and developing employees, these are activities that worked for me and my companies. Being a good boss means not being afraid to fire. Period.

Don’t forget to include human resources in the termination process, even the CEO and other leaders when applicable. Unfortunately this is because we live in such a litigious society and HR still need to help enforce compliance and proper procedure.

We had the pleasure of having Kevin Wheeler stop by #TChat last night. He’s a globally-known speaker, author, columnist, and consultant in human capital acquisition and development, and we were thrilled to have him join in our stream. When we got on the subject of hiring better performance fit to prevent eventual firing, better interviewing came up quite a bit. But Kevin reminded us that according to recruitment research, interviewing wasn’t much better than chance in predicting success in a position. Even those who are good at behavioral interviewing, which isn’t many, it’s still not much better than chance. References, however, can help evaluate cultural fit, and I agree with Kevin there. At least beyond the obligatory three five-minute reference check calls.

Thank you again Kevin!

You can see our TweetReach here and these were last night’s questions:
  • Q1: What impact does “fear of firing” have on leaders?  Biz performance?
  • Q2: What red flags should managers look for when recruiting now to avoid firing later?
  • Q3: Who should have ultimate responsibility for firing decisions?  HR, CEO, Supervisor?
  • Q4: Which is more important when considering termination: culture fit or performance?
  • Q5: What can job seekers do to explain being fired when looking for their next role?
  • Q6: Some say being fired can be the best thing that ever happens to someone.  T/F?

Thank you again everyone for joining us last night!  Next week’s topic will be “ “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Workplace Culture Factors to Consider Before Leaving Your Job”

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