Keep your cool during an employee termination

Insubordinate employees are a management challenge for many reasons. Most obvious is the strain they put on you. Your job is to get results through people and bad behavior makes insubordinates and everyone around them less productive.

Less obvious is the damage insubordinate employees do to your credibility as a leader. YOUR boss is thinking: Why did you hire someone whose values are inconsistent with the company’s? Why can’t you control your staff? Where did your people get the impression that dysfunctional behavior is okay?

Too often bosses don’t confront insubordinate behavior. They let it fester. Tension builds, and then they make the biggest mistake they can make with an insubordinate employee who needs to be fired: They get … angry.

Then they fire the person the WRONG way and end up getting sued. It should never happen.

Pass this rule along to your line managers: Unless there’s an IMMEDIATE threat to life, health or property, NEVER fire someone on the spot. No matter how much they mouth off or challenge you. Managers caught in this situation think they have to take immediate action to show they’re the boss. They fear they’ll lose credibility with the rest of the team if they look they’re backing down. In fact, they show leadership when they stay in control and don’t let anyone push their buttons.

So their best option is to say nothing, walk away, and head directly to the HR office. If the employee really does have to go, it won’t be long before he or she gets the message through proper channels. And everyone else will get the message too: Even when the chips are down, this is an organization that does things right.

photo credit: Lara604

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