If you’ve ever had to fire someone, my guess is you didn’t enjoy doing it. I am also guessing they didn’t enjoy it much either.
However, it is perfectly possible to fire a poor performing individual and for them to thank you.
According to Sue Ingram, author of ‘Fire Well – How to fire staff so they thank you’ this is achieved, not by the words that are used, but by the intent behind the words. The same words can be delivered with contempt or concern – creating very different results.
The aim is to hold a positive intention during the conversation, but with some individuals, particularly those that are practiced at being negative or difficult, this can be very challenging. So how do you do it?
1) How do you want the individual concerned to behave? Professional, respectful, honest and willing to listen with an open mind seeking positive solutions? If so then you must first act in this manner. Fail and you give permission for the individual to match whatever your behaviour becomes.
2) Have the sole objective of the conversations to achieve the best outcome for the individual; that they become both personally fulfilled and successful at their work; be that with you or elsewhere. This in turn will also be the right outcome for your organisation.
3) Balance any negative feedback with positive. Often, when people receive negative feedback, they expand it to affect everything always; that they are, and always will be, useless. This leaves them with no energy to improve or confidence to resign. Give them the hard message but also make them aware of their natural talents, your appreciation for what they do well and with a feeling of resilience.
In summary, at all times recognise, respect and speak to the human being behind the failure. Do everything possible to move them into a job role where they will succeed, even if that means firing them. Maintain this as your outcome and you have greatly increased the possibility of being thanked as you walk them out of the door.
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