|If you're an experienced leader, you've been there. You have an employee who you want to like, who tries hard and works long hours. You hired them, they had potential but you can see that they're drowning and creating problems for your whole team. You know they need to move on but you keep procrastinating.|
Hiring mistakes: we all make them and live with the regret, but how do you gracefully move them out of your orbit?
"Treat the process as just another opportunity
to make a connection and offer a hand to
someone who needs your help."
The wrong way is to start focusing on things that aren't the real issue. Perhaps you start documenting that she comes in late, talks on the phone too much to her boyfriend and hangs out in the break room. Yet your star employee... do you care if he does those things? Probably not. So when you terminate her and not him, you're setting yourself up for a discrimination complaint, not to mention that you've treated a good person unfairly.
What Should You Do?
suggests treating the process like a sales job. You want to encourage the employee to agree with your premise: that they'd be happier elsewhere. Altschuler suggests three ideas to make the process less painful: 1) Compassion; 2) Curiosity; and 3) a Plan.
1) Compassion simply means to place yourself in their shoes; they're a struggling human being that you need to acknowledge and try to help.
2) Curiosity means to gently probe for what they'd like to be doing instead. Most people who're drowning in a job realize that it's not working and may welcome the chance to talk about what they'd really like to do. If you recognize their talent in that area, offer to provide contacts and references.
3) Planning simply means to come into the conversation armed with ideas for where they could go and to be prepared to listen and help.
While firing a bad fit is rarely easy, you can treat the process as just another opportunity to make a connection and offer a hand to someone who needs your help.
Did You Know?
All of our management and leadership classes include training on how to let people go the right way. For more information, call or write us at: 303-216-1020 or [email protected]
Read Lynne's book "We Need to Talk - Tough Conversations with Your Employee" and learn effective ways to handle challenging conversations -- from performance reviews to terminations.