Making Painful Termination Decisions

What I hear people ask, and what I tell them.
My answers are in


  • The situation can’t be as bad as all that?
    Frequently it is worse... and your staff knows it.
  • If I get rid of this person, who will do the job?
    The people who are already doing that person’s work.

    A new hire who will be marvelous.
    Amazingly little work was getting done anyhow.
  • But he has a wife and children.
    We all have obligations and you have obligations to do what is best for the group as a whole.
  • Of course, he must know he hasn’t been doing a good job?
    People have incredible abilities to overrate themselves and deny reality.
  • I’m retiring in a year, maybe I shouldn’t make a change?
    A year is a very long time to do nothing, and do you want NOTHING to be part of your legacy?

A check list:

Questions for you to answer:

  • How clearly does the employee know what is expected of him?  Are you sure?
  • Does the employee know that his performance/behavior
    is putting his employment at risk?
  • How well have I coached and counseled the employee?
  • Should I do more coaching and counseling, and for how long?
  • What other options do I have that would make this person worth keeping?
  • How do these options fit in the big picture?
  • How consistent have I been in holding this employee accountable?
  • Who will do the work when this employee is terminated?
  • What is best for this employee’s future in the short-term and long-term?
  • What can I do to help this employee move on?
  • Why am I still not making the painful decision?

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"Again and again, the impossible problem is solved when we see that the problem is only a tough decision waiting to be made."
– Robert Schuller
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