5 Tips For IT Managers Who Have To Fire Employees

by drjim on August 15, 2013

When the end comes, it’s time for IT Managers to fire team members

When the end comes, it’s time for IT Managers to fire team members
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Some people believe that being an IT manager is a glamorous job. However, these people don’t know about all of the complicated personnel related issues that IT Managers have to deal with. One such issue is rather unpleasant – the firing of IT team members. Sometimes it has to be done, but when you do it, you need to do it correctly.

5 Tips For Firing IT Department Employees

How to fire a member of your team is not something that gets covered in any IT manager training. However, it is one of the IT manager skills that every IT manager really needs to have. What this means for you is that you need to take the time to learn how to fire people in a way that both shows them some respect and gets them to leave at the same time. Not an easy task. Here are 5 tips that you need to keep in mind the next time that you are called on to perform this unpleasant task:

  • Don’t Delegate: the employee that is going to be fired works for you. Do not delegate this responsibility – do the firing yourself. If you don’t do this, then the employee may wonder if you really supported the decision to let them go and that could start to cause questions about the merit of the termination to arise in their head.
  • Don’t Do It Alone: a firing is a very emotional event. Don’t show up to do this all by yourself. Bring another witness along. Preferably this person will be from the company’s HR department. They can help to keep the discussion on topic in case it starts to go off-road.
  • Write It Down: as you can well imagine, what you say during the firing session will go in one ear of the person who is being fired and out the other. That’s why it’s important to have a packet of material that they are going to need (notification of termination, Cobra sign up information, etc.) ready to hand them when the firing discussion is over and done with.
  • Don’t Drag It Out: it is best to view this type of discussion as a notification and not a conversation. Plan on any firing taking roughly 15-20 minutes and make sure that it does not last any longer than that. The longer that you talk, the better the chances are that you’ll say something that you’ll regret saying later on.
  • Do Not Say You’re Sorry: you may be sorry about having to fire this individual, but you should never say that. Saying something like that seems to indicate that you disagree with the decision to fire them and that is going to end up confusing the employee who is being let go.

What All Of This Means For You

Although being an IT manager can be great, there are some heavy burdens that come along with this job. One of these is the responsibility to fire IT team members when the situation calls for it. No, this won’t help you with your IT team building but you still need to understand how to do it correctly.

Knowing how to correctly fire a team member comes down to understanding what you should do and what you should not do. The 5 tips that we discussed showed you what you need to make sure that you do the next time that you are called on to fire someone.

It’s my hope that you never have to practice the art of terminating IT team members too much. However, you will have to do it sometimes and you need to make sure that you show your team members the respect that they deserve while you are doing this. Use the tips that we’ve discussed here to make your next firing go as smoothly as possible.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What day of the week do you think is the best day to fire someone on?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Becoming an IT manager is a difficult thing to do. It turns out that staying IT manager once you reach this lofty position is also very hard to do. I don’t think that there are any market studies on this, but I know of many IT professionals who became managers only to get demoted later on simply because they were not up to the task. If you don’t want your tenure as an IT manager to be this short, then there are some very specific things that you are going to need to do.

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