Have you fired anyone?

Have you fired anyone? It’s a question that I’ve been asked a lot lately. Firing someone is a task that all managers face. I’m lucky enough to say that in all my time managing people that I’ve never been in that situation. That does not mean that I’ve never had performance issues on my team. They do occasionally occur, but we’ve always been able to get things back in order. As a relatively new manager, I look to my peers and past supervisors that I trust for guidance in these situations.

One thing that I’ve learned early is get a hold on the situation as soon as it comes to light. Take the situation seriously and deal with it. Don’t laugh it off or try to explain it away. Ask the questions that need to be asked. Find out exactly what the problem is and what the impact is.

Once you know that you need to counsel someone, pull them aside when it will be least noticed by their peers. Give the employee concrete examples where they are falling short. For example, cabling requests are to be completed in two days, and you’re taking three. What’s going on?

Get their feedback on why their performance is sufferering. Listen and make sure that you get all the information you need. Deal with the facts of the situation, and not the emotions that come out of it. Be tactful in your response. If there are extenuating circumstances, address them. Oh this cable CAT7A termination is new to you. Let’s get you some help so you can get up to speed with them.

If you provide additional training or guidance for improvement, followup at regular intervals to make sure the training is progressing and that it’s helping. Are you comfortable making the CAT7A cables now?

Don’t set anyone up to fail. If a staff member needs to improvement, set reasonable goals and expectations. Be clear about the expectations and what happens if they are not met. Make sure that the employee understands that expectation.  The SLA for cabling requests is 2 days. You really need to meet that expectation. Failure to do so could lead to termination.

Be mindful of any company discipline policies or procedures. Make sure that HR is aware of what’s going on. Keep documentation for your records just in case things do not improve. Firing an employee should be a last resort. The time spent training an employeed is an investment. Hopefully I’m never in the situation where I need to fire someone.

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