Managers Seek Better Ways To Fire Employees

Managers need to be careful how they go about breaking up their team
Managers need to be careful how they go about breaking up their team
Image Credit: Paul B

So let’s face it – firing a team member is never an easy thing for a manager to do. You hired this person, you’ve worked with them, and you’ve attempted to correct anything that they were doing wrong, but now it’s reached the so-called “end of the road” and you find yourself in a position where you need use your manager skills to let them go. No manager comes into work early on days like this. However, in our current day and age the newspapers are full of articles about fired workers turning violent or causing conflict. What’s the right way to let someone go?

The New Thinking About Firing An Employee

So let’s all agree on one thing, the last thing in the world that we want to have happen is for us to terminate an employee and then have them stand up, whip out a gun and start to shoot up the workplace. In fact, we really don’t want them to have a negative reaction to being fired. What we’d like them to do is to accept what we’ve told them, shake our hand, and then quietly leave the building and never come back. The challenge for a manager is to discover the manager training that will teach us how best to make this happen.

Firing an employee is not just as simple as calling them into your office and telling them that they are being let go. There are a number of variables that managers have to account for when they are terminating an employee. Things that you need to consider include what day of the week you choose to fire an employee on, if you need to have security experts available during the firing, and how long you should maintain a former employee’s benefits after being fired. Allowing benefits to remain can often smooth over upset former employee concerns immediately after being let go.

In the past, managers were told that when we were firing an employee we should do it on Friday simply because that often lined up well with the end of a pay period. Additionally, it was thought that the fired worker would have the weekend to gather their thoughts and get used to the way that things are now. However, this thinking has now changed. Now managers are being told that Wednesday is the right day to let people on your team go. This gives the worker a chance to get in contact with other employers and look for their next job during business hours on the remaining days of the week.

How Managers Should Let People Go

So if we can all agree on how NOT to fire someone, what is the best way to actually go about firing someone? It turns out that one of the most important things that a manager can bring to a firing is a sense of empathy. The reason that this is so important is because by doing so you have the ability to help the person who is getting fired to keep their sense of personal integrity together. One way that a manager can help a team member who is being terminated is by offering to provide them with assistance in finding their next job.

One of the most important things that a manager can do during the termination process is to be clear. When you are firing someone, you must be both clear and compassionate. If a manager can do this, then more often than not the person who is being let go will be understanding of their situation. One good idea is to give the employee who is being let go a set of options on how they would like to proceed: would they like to clean their desk out and say goodbye now, or would they like to return tomorrow and do that and ask any questions about benefits that they may have thought of?

Managers need to be able to make sure that a firing does not escalate into a tense situation. There are a number of different ways to go about doing this. One important way to keep things under control is to conduct a termination near an exit so that the fired employee does not have to do a “walk of shame” after having been let go. If it is possible to extend an employee’s health insurance coverage period past their termination give the former employee time to schedule needed doctor’s appointments for themselves and their families. This can provide a fired employee with more of a soft landing.

What All Of This Means For You

There are some parts of the job of manager that I believe that most of us enjoy. However, then there are the parts that nobody really likes. What this means is that when it comes time to let a team member go, it’s up to the manager to not only do it, but do it correctly. This is not an easy thing to do. We all need to understand what our goals need to be when we fire someone and how to make it a civil interaction.

When it comes time to fire someone, a manager must bring a sense of empathy to this interaction. How you feel about the person that you will be firing is going to be important in order to help them to get through this event. During the process of firing someone you have to be both clear and compassionate. Every firing can go off the rails. You need to make sure that this interaction does not escalate into a tense situation. Allow the fired employee to leave without having to be embarrassed. If possible, extend health benefits so that they can wrap things up. Keeping an employee calm while being fired is a critical part of a manager’s job. We need to be careful and pick a day to fire the worker that will provide them with the most amount of time to start to search for a new job and not allow them to sit around and become angry about what has happened to them.

No, letting members of our team go is never an easy thing to do. However, as a manager there will always be situations where doing this is something that is required of us. When we find ourselves in a situation where we have to let a worker go, we need to understand that this will a difficult moment for both them and us. We need to provide them with clear directions and make sure that they understand that although this may be something that they don’t like, it’s not the end of the road for them and that we’ll be there to support them in the future.

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

Question For You: What can a manager do while firing someone to defuse the emotions of the situation?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

An interesting question that many of us may not have spent a lot of time thinking about is what does it take to be a good manager? All too often in today’s fast paced world of business, many people find themselves in management positions with little to no manager training and no manager skills. Additionally, they have no idea how to deal with direct reports. All too often companies no longer offer any training to those people that they are placing in management roles and they are making people managers when they are younger and they are doing it without any training. What is it going to take to make sure that we become good managers?