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Three times when 'You're Fired' is the kindest option

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Three times when 'You're Fired' is the kindest option

‘But  he’s such a nice guy, I really like him… but oh his quality is so bad even though I’ve been giving him feedback for over 6 months… I mean… maybe he’ll get better??’

‘Uuugh her work is good… but the team hate working with her and she is kinda… well… mean to people’

‘He’s great at what he does… but it’s like pulling teeth to get any work out of him, I’m spending hours each day just getting him to do his job!’

Ok Bosses, I’ve heard it all before.  You don’t want to fire someone because… well there’s a multitude of reasons - don’t want to have to recruit to replace, too busy to deal with it, hoping it will go away, actually really like the person, and the big one: don’t want to be an ass-hole.

And you know what, firing is DEFINITELY not the first option on the table! Have those tough grown up conversations to talk about what’s not working, what you would expect to see changed and agree on what they’ll try differently (and how you will support).  Of course that’s the first approach.

But sometimes… you HAVE to be willing to be the bad guy and get someone off your team, even though it feels like crap. And of course HUGE disclaimer here, before going down this route you MUST check in with your local employment legislation to ensure you're doing it the right way.

Here are the top 3:

1. Creating Toxic Team Culture… aka they are an asshole

This one should be easy but bosses get seduced with the person’s quality of work. I get it, they write good code or create good graphics or whatever the task is. BUT if they are always miserable, treat the rest of the team like garbage and bring down EVERYONE else’s motivation… to the point where some of your other team may even be thinking of leaving to avoid working with them??  It’s time to go. They obviously aren’t the right fit for your team and NO ONE wants to be that person on a team (even if it seems like they don’t care, trust me, they’re not happy either)

2. Skill mismatch… aka unable to do the job no matter how much you help them

This is such a hard one. Because you LIKE them. You probably spend a ridiculous amount of time chatting and talking about personal stuff during your meetings, you genuinely think they’re great… they just can’t seem to do a good job no matter how much support, training or feedback you give them. I KNOW this one is hard, trust me, it freaking sucks. But it’s time to let them go. No one wants to be bad at their job, and being continually told their work isn’t good enough isn’t right for them or you (or the rest of the team who are likely picking up the slack). I know it feels like shit but they need to be in a role where they are liked AND valued for their work.

3. Motivational Swamp land… aka can do the job but really doesn’t seem to want to no matter what you do

Ah the good old ‘can do it but won’t do it’ team member.  And this one is truly frustrating because you know they CAN do good work, you’ve seen it before… they just don’t. You can’t figure out why.

Full disclosure… this one might actually be your fault. Maybe they just struggle with the way you manage or give direction or the team dynamic. There is a chance this one can be saved with a grown up conversation. But likely it’s a mismatch and they would be more successful somewhere else, and you would be better off having a team member who naturally seems to work well in your team’s dynamic and can hit the ground running, without you constantly checking in with them. This one is hard because it is more of a grey area, but just keep in mind, as a small biz owner you don’t have the luxury of oodles of money to hire people who sometimes do good work. You need the dream team who are just as in it as you.


And remember, you don’t actually say ‘you’re fired, get the f*ck out of my company’ and never talk to them again! Believe it or not you actually CAN terminate someone’s employment with you AND do it while being kind and respectful.

It’s time boss. Free up you and your team’s workload and get those people off the team. Let me know what questions or comments you got!

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Thinking of Hiring HR Support?? You May Be Making a HUGE Mistake...

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Thinking of Hiring HR Support?? You May Be Making a HUGE Mistake...

I sat down with my new boss as their brand new People Team Manager.  First day jitters. First day excitement.  And the big question yet to be answered:

‘So what is my main goal over the next 6 months?  What results do you want me to achieve?

His response made my stomach drop.

‘Oh I just want the team to be happy.  Just make them happy’

Sigh. Oh no no no no no… just no.

And here’s why my stomach dropped.  It’s not because it wasn’t an admirable answer.  It wasn’t because I questioned his motives, they were awesome (he went on to be one of my favourite bosses).  It wasn’t because I had an ego response to being more than the clown in the corner who told knock knock jokes and actually contribute to the business (although I admit that was probably in there a little).

It was because what he wanted was NOT MY JOB and was setting me up to fail.  What he wanted was to outsource his job… only he didn’t know it. His motivation was great, wanting his team to thrive, but his idea for how to make that happen (hiring me and delegating) simply wasn’t the solution.


Here are the top 3 times when you should NOT hire an HR person for your biz:

1. I need someone on the team to give tough feedback and help them with their career development

STOP.  These points are all parts of YOUR job (or a leader on your team’s job).  Feedback, praise, communication, development conversations - these are jobs of someone’s direct leader, someone who has a day to day relationship with them, knows what they do and are accountable for the team’s results.  

What to do instead:  If these are the things you need to delegate, and it’s totally ok if you need to as you grow, what you need is a general manager or team manager who is the direct Boss of your employees, NOT an HR person to try and ‘band-aid’ solution it across the whole group.  They simply won’t have the day to day knowledge or responsibility to do this well, even the most amazing HR person is set up to fail in this scenario.

2. I need someone to figure out what our ‘company culture’ should be and make it happen

No.  Seriously, just no, I can’t tell you how disastrous this one is.  Here’s the deal, a company culture, regardless of the size, is made up of the said and unsaid things we reward, things we tolerate and things we punish.  Literally that’s it. Culture is the unwritten rules of an organisation, and you can definitely work to change that culture - but not by asking a stranger to come in and do a ‘culture change’ program.  

What to do instead:  walking the walk (do what you want others to be doing), setting super clear expectations and being consistent.  This is a leadership responsibility, you do not need to hire someone to do this for you. However this can be a good time to get yourself a coach or consultant to be your expert in the background and support you as you go through the inevitable bumps and bruises of change.

3. And the classic ‘I need someone to make my team members happy’

Ok this one on the surface seems pretty innocuous.  You care about your people, you want them to be happy and motivated and love work, so it’s very tempting to want to bring in a ‘people expert’ to be accountable for this measure.  There’s two problems with this, (1) people will think it’s not important to you, hence why you’ve delegated it to some new person and (2) this new person very likely won’t actually have the power to truly impact the things that make or break employee’s happiness levels.  

What to do instead:  Hire a qualified amazing HR / People expert.  Hear me out - what I mean is to hire a fantastic People Expert to coach and advise YOU on how to do this, give you inside insight into what’s blocking people from loving life, have an outside set of eyes on what’s working and what’s broken, set up tools, resource and structures to allow people to make themselves happy.  Their responsibility is not to DIRECTLY motivate and make people happy, but instead is to enable YOU to create the right conditions for happiness and motivation. They can be invaluable as long as it’s very clear who’s accountable for what.


Get super clear on WHAT expert you need on your team and WHY you want them there before you hit the green button and hire an HR professional!

Questions or comments?  Get in touch I’d love to hear from you, get in touch


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