If you’ve ever been a manager, you know one of the hardest things to do is letting someone go. CEOs and management experts alike say the best thing to do is let the person go quickly–it’s better for the team, the company and also for the person so he or she can move on. But how exactly do you do it? In this video, CEOs including Jack Welch, former General Electric chief executive and founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute, describe how they manage someone out.
What I try to never do, is do it the moment of an incident.
If you have to fire someone, it should be that you love them out the door, after you have been very clear on defining what success means, trying to help them become more successful. And if you can’t do it at your company, you help them get to a place where they can.
Do it quick. Never linger. It’s very much an honest conversation about path and career growth, and in that case the fit not being actually good for them or for us.
You don’t treat them like lepers, one of the biggest problems that comes up with junior managers, they sit home, he or she, the night before they have to let somebody go. They haven’t prepared them for a year, they haven’t done all that. They’re telling their spouse, I’m going in tomorrow to do it, I’m going to do it. They go in. They close their eyes practically and say “you’ve got to go home,” it’s not working here, or “my boss wants me to fire you.” That’s another beauty. “I like you but I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to get my cost down” Suicide!
Make it humane and be empathetic, no one’s excited about having that conversation. You should do it in a way that’s direct and transparent. Be as supportive as you possibly can in terms of helping that individual with their next opportunity. Just because it’s not a fit with wherever the organization is or whatever the strategy is at that given time, that doesn’t mean that individual isn’t going to go on and have a fabulous career.
What I try to never do, is do it the moment of an incident. A presentation when they fall down on their face. That’s the last time I want to go, never kick anybody when they are down.