A bevy of managers and business owners frequently ask me how to fire someone. I walk them carefully through the ethical and legal minefield (have your HR rep there and don't say too much), while helping them with the emotional side of it (it's never easy). WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TABLE?
How did the person being fired get there?
Here are five reasons why you're on the receiving end of the last meeting you'll ever have with your company or your client (for business owners):
Stage 1: You didn't communicate/listen very well.
You find your boss/client messages are mixed — they are getting frustrated with you more often. You think things are going swimmingly, but every interaction is misconstrued, they aren't happy and you don't know why.
Bottom line — don't wait for them — you need to change your communication patterns to your boss/client. Many people try to blame the other party and wait patiently for them to change. Sorry pal — the onus is all on you.
Stage 2: You didn't keep your eyes open.
Things that have never changed begin to change all around you. Timing, deliverables, behavior, people and things pop in at the most inauspicious moment. You are frequently thrown off your game by changes from your boss/client — and you blame them.
Stop, step back, and survey the situation. What's really happening here? Sometimes it's just a subtle change, a small alteration from your boss/client. But it could have deeper ramifications. Keep your eyes open and more importantly, your mind open. Most people shut down or disregard these subtle changes (to their detriment).
Stage 3: You lost your motivation and enthusiasm.
Working with your boss/client becomes a chore — the machine isn't running as smooth as it used to. You start to blame them and begin to pull back — you don't deliver on time, you miss deadlines, the quality of your work isn't up to par.
This is the 'tipping point' stage. Only you can increase/decrease your motivation and enthusiasm. If you begin to pull back, your boss/client is going to notice and start to wonder if you really want your job/business. Start re-energizing your attention to the job at hand or things will precipitously slide in a downward direction.
Stage 4: You let logistical issues get in the way.
You begin missing appointments/meetings. You are late. You forgot key deliverables. You miss opportunities. You say the wrong things. Your car doesn't start. But it's not your fault.
These are all indicators to your boss/client that you are beginning not to really pay attention and care about the business. As much as you protest, they are clear indicators you are actively pulling back into a position that is a lose-lose for you.
Stage 5: You stopped caring.
I call this the 'shoot me now' stage. At this point all is probably lost — you're just waiting for the knife in the back. You don't really care about your work/service, your comments are usually negative (or tinged with sarcasm), and going to work is about as much fun as a root canal.
You need to make a decision — do the right thing and quit or drop to your knees, beg forgiveness — and repent. This is your last hail mary pass — it might work or not. Don't be surprised if your boss/client doesn't buy it — you've let it get too far.
Has this ever happened to you? What did you do to change your situation?
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P.S. Do you see one of your people in this situation? Are you in this situation? Let's talk. I've worked with a number of my clients on this specific topic — and we developed a successful strategy to turn things around. If you’re not a client . . . pick up the phone and call me — I have one complimentary session left this month. It will probably disappear by next week.