Tuesday, July 23, 2013

You are partially to blame

Those that have to terminate / fire someone must share some . . . perhaps all the blame.

Good leaders set others up for success - they make it easy - they make it possible. In fact, they make it almost impossible to fail. Rules are clear and effectively communicated. Expectations are vividly clear.

Why would an individual need to be terminated?
  1. Not performing / not doing what is expected of them.
  2. Violation of policy (theft, serious policy violation)

1) Poor performance
Either the expectations were not clear or not communicated sufficiently. When expectations are clear and the leader appropriately addresses shortfalls through coaching and if necessary performance management, an employee will almost always self select, meaning: they choose to leave on their own. People will sign up and commit themselves to giving full effort to a well-defined goal or objective. Almost any individual is capable of great work under great leadership. If a poor hiring decision was made in the first place, who is to blame for that?

2) Violation of policy
This is a tough one to swallow at first: If the rules and the consequences of not following the rules are clear and there is strong awareness that systems and processes exist to immediately detect if the rules are broken, the vast majority of people will never violate the rules. Using theft or fraud as an example: within any group of people, there are those that will never commit a crime against your organization, but there are also a significant number who given an opportunity and believe they have a good chance of getting away with it, might. These are not bad people: but rather good people who succumb to temptation. If you left a $20 bill on the table in your staff lounge, how long would it remain? Most would turn it in, but some would take it.

The question we must ask ourselves if we are forced to terminate for theft, fraud or a serious violation of policy; was the policy clear enough? Where the consequences clear enough? Were the processes to detect such a problem known to exist? In many cases the answer to one or more of these questions is "no."

If we approach leadership with this perspective, we will communicate and apply accountability to our expectations well enough that we will almost never have to terminate anyone. Of course, this benefit [never have to terminate] is minor compared to the resulting success that the team will achieve.




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