One of my top sales people had been missing for a couple of days and hadn’t called in sick. I called his home and cell with no luck. Around the third day his dad called and wanted to talk to me. This was kind of odd but I accepted and we met. He told me his son had prostate cancer and didn’t want anyone to know. Of course I was concerned and advised him to have his son take all the time off needed just keep in touch periodically. He agreed. Unfortunately, about two weeks later, I found out he was working for our competition. Maybe it was time to fire someone?
He lied, had his dad lie, and now I’m not a happy camper. I jump in my car and confront him at his “new” place of employment. As you can imagine he was completely surprised and embarrassed. I told him “obviously it’s not working out with us… let’s jump in the car and pack your stuff.” Going on… “I wish the best for you but it would have been nice if you hadn’t used your dad like that. I’m sure you had your reasons.” We parted “friends” and that was the end of it.
My General Manager was furious that I had been so congenial to this guy. I had always made it a policy to part on as friendly terms as possible when letting someone go. Two weeks later the same GM comes into my office literally ashen faced. I asked what’s wrong. He pushed a newspaper across my desk with a headline article including this ex-sales person’s name.
He had gone into a local bar… pulled out a shotgun and shot and killed seven people including himself. No one knew why. Then my GM commented “Just think if you had fired him like I wanted to?”
It always amazes me how many managers don’t take this serious. A friend of mine would fire someone by drawing the outline of a building with stick figures in the building and one out. He would ask “which one of these figures do you think you are?” In telling this tale he would laugh and laugh about how devastated these employees would look. Sad. Some trash and demean employees as they let them go. Why?
“You’re fired!” No other words can so easily and succinctly reduce a confident, self-assured executive to an insecure, groveling shred of his former self.” -Frank P. Louchheim
5 Suggestions on how to fire someone:
- First and foremost, firing an employee DOES NOT need to be completely negative.
- Just because they aren’t working out for you doesn’t mean they can’t be successful somewhere else. Tell them that.
- Offer your services and advice on where they could go to find a new job. Let them know you are available to talk (within reason of course).
- Be very clear about why they are being terminated. Reduction in force, performance low, serious personality conflict, etc. Don’t make something up. It will come back to haunt you.
- When another employer calls for a reference always remember how you would want your ex-boss to talk about you. I am not saying lie but emphasize the good points. All employees have good points.
I once had an ex-employee tell me that “I would rather be fired by you than anyone”. I’m not sure I want to be famous for that but you get the picture. Bottom line is treat these folks like you would want to be treated. You have no idea where they are mentally. If not done properly and not understanding how to fire someone could become a tragic ending. Be careful. Be considerate.© 2006-2018 SalesBlog! | Photos courtesy of 123RF | Posted on