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Firing Someone? Here are Five Questions for You

Firing Someone? Here are Five Questions for You

As a recruiter, or a person in the position of hiring and  firing, the latter is a much tougher decision to make. The ‘art of firing’ is not easy, and it takes skill and knowledge to be able to make an informed and confident decision of firing someone. To fire someone should never be a spontaneous, knee-jerk response to what we consider as a ‘one off’ incident. It is true that sufficient thought is put into the structure of firing someone – there is at least a basic protocol in place in most organisations. However, most of these preparations are geared towards the firing meeting itself.

It is important to understand exactly “why” you are making the decision to fire someone – you owe this to your organisation as well the employee you are firing. Besides preparing this way helps you articulate yourself better, which inevitably makes the process easier. A great way to prepare yourself before you fire someone is by asking/ going over these five questions.

  1. Why am I firing him?

    This is the first question that you will have to tackle, and the first thing that you will have to tell the employee in question about. Knowing “why” you are going ahead with this decision makes the whole meeting a lot easier and quicker, because you are convinced about the main reason for your decision. Not being clear about this particular question in your head is going to have you go round in circles, make the process longer, and maybe even messy. Knowing your reasons will you help you make it quick, effective and efficient.

  2. When should I fire him?

    Just like ending romantic relationships, no matter how long you wait for the “right time” there will never be one. The moment you realize your reason for wanting to let go of the employee, you need to work towards implementing it. This post on Undercover Recruiter says it best:
    “Conventional wisdom says you should fire someone on Friday afternoon or Monday morning. But conventional wisdom is wrong. You should fire someone as soon as you’ve taken the decision and understand every detail of how you’re going to execute it – from the moment you’re telling the employee “you are fired” to the time they leave the office.”
    By detail of execution, they mean everything from an experience letter, to the severance pay check.

  3. How should I fire him?

    There is only one answer to this question – no matter what your reason is for the decision, execute it in the most dignified and kind manner possible.

  4. Is any personal bias influencing the decision?

    In case there is any bias or prejudice involved in the decision to fire the employee concerned, it should come through when you answer the very first question. However, it is not always necessary that the bias/ prejudice or even the reason stated to you would be something you have a deep awareness of. In which case, before executing the decision, do you bit to find out exactly why the employee concerned is being fired, and let any personal bias or prejudice be the very last reason! Remember, you are not just the messenger, your responsibility is a much greater one.

  5. Am I having second thoughts?

    Then halt the decision, and ask yourself all the above questions all over again until you are sure exactly why you are letting go of the employee concerned. A hasty, half-thought through decision can reflect terribly upon the morale of the rest of your employees as well. Remember that the person in question has friends at work, and people will eventually find out. That can’t be healthy for the team in any way.

To fire someone is never easy. But being prepared can make this otherwise emotionally draining process a little easier. It is hard, but at some point or the other you will have to make the decision of letting someone you feel isn’t the right fit for the organisation, go. Being a leader is also about knowing when and how to make these decisions. And preparation can help you do it in a kind, informed yet firm manner!

Five Management or Leadership Styles that should be Banned from the Work Place – Business Operations Performance Challenges

Five Management or Leadership Styles that should be Banned from the Work Place – Business Operations Performance Challenges

Do you think that every work/office space should have a few punching bags around? Sometimes I definitely feel there is some merit in the idea.  All that violence and stress bottled up inside cannot possibly be good for anyone. Violence, stress, punching bags – does not exactly fit the theme of my blog, Happy in the Now.  But hey – work is not all sweetness and light particularly when you have to work sometimes with people who have the talent of bringing out the worst in you. I have written about the barriers to operational excellence before and about behaviors that are best avoided at the work place. This week’s post is focused on the leadership or management styles that block progress and help no one – not the managers or leaders nor their teams and certainly not the organization.

With great power comes great responsibility – leaders and managers need to keep this in mind in all their daily interactions and do everyone a favor by keeping a firm check on these punch-bag reminder inducing styles:

Management/Leadership Style #1 – Waffling: Here is the dictionary definition of the word and I am quite sure some images/experiences will pop up in your mind:

Waffling – present participle of waf·fle (Verb): 1. Fail to make up one’s mind 2. Speak or write esp. at great length, without saying anything important or useful.

This is the work place equivalent of the Hamlet soliloquy – To be or not to be…be, not be, be, not be– God, can you please make up your mind and move on and let your team get to the work at hand  ?

Management/Leadership Style #2 – Death by Committees: This one starts with – sounds like a good idea, let’s set up a meeting to decide who needs to decide, and invite them to a meeting to decide when it needs to get decided and then set up a meeting to discuss who else need to be invited that needs to decide and then set up a meeting to discuss what we need to decide – hey! Can you please remind me what the great idea was again?

Ok, so I know that there is research that says there is wisdom in crowds but seriously, can we please stop killing all possible innovation and initiative through this inclusive decision-making (read as death by committee) style?

Management/Leadership Style #3 – I am the victim – This style shows up in full bloom when the time comes to take hard decisions and set ownerships.  Some symptoms to diagnose this style is when someone says –  Hey don’t ask me why things are not working because I am just the new person here/the markets are down/whoever drew up the budget or the plan was smoking something/no one supports me/other people don’t know how to do their jobs/ whine whine whine whine whine……

You are a manager or leader because sometime somewhere you did do something right. Can you please stop whining and get your act together again – everybody knows the problems, YOU are the person who has to provide the solution – that is why you are where you are.

Management/Leadership Style #4 – My way or the highway – This is the style of the professional bully who relies on his/her title, or a loud voice, or a threat or other trappings of power to force complete submission of subordinates or colleagues and does so because he/she can, and because that’s the only way he/she knows how to manage.

But seriously, the command and control style of leadership was outdated even a century back – isn’t it time to change your style so that people actually WANT to work for you or with you?

Management/Leadership Style #5 – Divide and Rule –  Best explained in Wiki (derived from Latin: divide et impera) (also known as divide and conquer) is a strategy of gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into chunks that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy. In this case, insecurity rules, the leader/manager’s own insecurity makes him/her intentionally create disharmony, goes about collecting information (the water-coolers sessions equivalent) from team about team-mates, discusses and is dismissive about subordinates in front of their peers and actually pits one against the other. When this happens, the subordinates would obviously not come together as a team and be a threat to his/her security.

Excuse me – but the Cold War is over, can you please stop behaving like a secret agent/playing childish games and grow up and be the fair and trust-worthy leader that your team needs you to be?

We all need to look into the mirror frequently and do some honest evaluation of our leadership and management styles. It is easy to slip and slide and fall prey to the trappings of power – remember the adage, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely? Introspect, Acknowledge and Change – it is never too late to be the leader or manager we should be (and then the idea of punching bags in the office would become obsolete!)

So did reading my post ring any bells for you? Do you have some “boss from hell” or “the best boss” stories to share? I would love to hear back from you.