Your team members are your company’s greatest asset. It makes sense that a lot of time, effort and energy goes into finding the right candidates. You vet them. You hire them. You onboard them. You train them. You know how building your team matters to your bottom line — big time. So, what do you do when one of your new hires is a bad apple? Is building your team and firing well mutually exclusive?
Even after you put in your time, attention and resources into hiring right, mistakes happen. Culture clashes, management styles, personal lives and interpersonal relationships all play a role in how a new employee fits in with your company. Unanticipated events, a clash of values and misunderstandings with your other employees play a huge role when an employee isn’t working out the way you thought they would.
When all is said and done, you may find that you need to fire an employee. Therefore, building your team and firing well are key leadership skills every astute manager should be prepared for.
Yes, firing well this is a stressful situation for any leader. However, the right team building strategies can help you to effectively approach the hiring and firing process with a positive frame of mind.
Team building strategies for building your team and firing well
Ongoing training and one-on-one coaching go a long way in building successful teams. However, sometimes leaders need to fire employees and move on. With the following team building strategies, leaders can learn to fire the wrong candidates and hire the right ones.
Identify your reasons for building your team and firing well.
There are many reasons to fire someone. Some are good reasons while others aren’t.
Before firing anyone, you must first identify the core reason that you want to let go of the team member. Then determine if it is a legitimate problem that cannot be solved despite your best efforts. Some legitimate reasons to fire an employee include:
- Consistent tardiness;
- Disrespect for others’ time;
- A constant negative attitude;
- Constant unnecessary absences;
- Not paying attention during meetings; or,
- Spending their days distracted from work with social media or personal calls, among others.
If team members aren’t exhibiting these or other toxic behaviors, then the best approach may not be to fire them. Rather, train or coach the employee to determine if they can improve and add value to the company later on.
Exhibit empathy for firing well.
The best place to approach firing an employee is through empathy. Before firing someone, it’s a good idea to assess your own emotions and approach.
Are you happy to see the team member go? Have you tried to get to know them on a personal level? Have you implemented other team building strategies for success?
Before deciding to fire someone, consider if the employee has been valuable and effective in the past. If the employee is experiencing personal problems, and if they are a right fit for their current role perhaps the situation is temporary. You may be able to offer the employee some time off to deal with personal issues. Or, perhaps you can improve their training to get them up to speed. Perhaps you can offer them a different position within the company that better fits their skills and passions. Approach them empathetically with a desire understand and to discover a solution. View firing as the last option before letting that employee go.
Don’t make it a surprise when firing well
An employee should never feel surprised to be let go. This includes when you have a need to downsize. Your employees deserve the opportunity to do better. And, they can’t do better if they aren’t told that there is a problem in the first place.
To protect yourself, your company and your employee, keep records of all of the conversations that you have had with your employee. Track the strategies you implemented to solve the problem, too.
Formal meetings at least three times a year, as well as informal check-ins on a weekly basis go a long way in opening the lines of communication and expectations with your employees. Your employees also need to feel comfortable with approaching you about any concerns or problems they may be experiencing. If everyone is openly communicating, then you will be able to fix problems without resorting to firing employees.
While there are many legitimate reasons to fire an employee, it’s still a good idea to exhaust all other options before firing anyone. Effective team building strategies include:
- Identifying your reasons for firing;
- Exhibiting empathy; and,
- Ensuring it’s not a surprise for the employee to be fired.
Other helpful strategies include supplying regular one-on-one feedback, offering additional training and utilizing group behavior surveys to measure the current levels of trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success within the workplace to keep employees effective and happy. If these team building strategies don’t solve the problem, then you’re likely in the clear to go ahead and fire the employee and doing it well.
Care to dig deeper into this conversation of building your team and firing well?
We found the following articles helpful for adding to the conversation:
- 18 Unprofessional Habits That Will Get You Fired
- 6 Questions To Ask Before Terminating An Underperforming Sales Rep
- What I’ve Learned About How To Fire People Well
- 5 Tips for Hiring the Talent You Need In a Tight Labor Market
- Building Mutual Respect to Manage the Unmanageable
Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton
TIGERS® Success Series is a Bend, Oregon Management Facilitation and Team Improvement Consultant that helps committed leaders build more cooperation among employees and collaboration between departments for improved success.
We do this by deploying the TIGERS® team facilitation process that improves workforce behaviors that are anchored by trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk resolution and success. Providing diagnostics and customized team interventions, you can improve both work culture and transform your adequate teams into exceptional ones.
We also license and train HRD Executives, Project Managers, Managers, and Trainers in the use of our award winning resources. Invite us to present at your next business retreat or association gathering.
For more information, call 1+ 541-385-7465.