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Team building

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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4 Team Building activities for virtual teams (and why it's not a waste of time!)

4 Team Building activities for virtual teams (and why it's not a waste of time!)

Oh man has hollywood given Team Building a bad rep with that whole ‘fall backwards and I’ll catch you’ trust exercise. I have run countless Team Building workshops and never once have we fallen and caught each other, I promise!

Team building activites are absolutely important. Getting a team to really trust each other, debate about the right direction, challenge each other, give each other useful feedback, hold each other accountable, praise and celebrate each other… this is ALL the stuff Bosses desperately want to see in their teams. It’s the secret sauce to getting a team providing super high value back to a biz effectively and efficiently… not to mention freeing you up to work in your zone of genius instead of constantly being middle man between your team members!

But how the hell do you do it in a virtual team when you can’t just all gather in a room together, give high fives and do a group hug??


Here are some of the easier ways to build this dynamic up in your group:

1. Virtual Launch Party

When you’re celebrating a launch that you’ve pushed over the finish line, have a party! Get everyone on camera, make sure everyone had a budget to get themselves some celebration bubbly and/or nibbles, and celebrate together. Keep this very much in the ‘party’ mode, you can even have some topics of conversation prepared in the background to throw out to the group to make sure it stays in celebration mode rather than back sliding to work updates mode. This can be a little challenging when in different time zones but you can still make it work!

2. 2 Truths and 1 lie (and other quirky meeting starters)

The idea here is to very regularly have bite size ‘get to know each other’ actions on the agenda. This could be something as simple as ‘how was everyone’s weekend’ before diving into the ‘to-do’ part of an agenda, to funny learn about each other icebreakers like sharing what they wanted to be when they were kids. A common one used is ‘2 truths and a lie’ - everyone says 3 things about themselves, 2 true and 1 lie, and the rest of the team have to guess which are which.

3. Regular All Hands / Townhalls

Although I’m the first one to be hard on regular meetings, this can be a useful one. A regular virtual meeting that includes everyone and gives a little window into what everyone else is working on can help people feel connected and part of something bigger than a daily to-do list. Each person gets 30-60 seconds at the MOST to give a quick peak into what they have going on, challenges they’re coming across or where they’ll want help from others in the team that week. And keep it super brief - the longer this goes on the less effective it will be. Bonus points if you pay for lunch or nibbles on a monthly basis!

4. Team Outing

Ok, yes this one seems odd given you’re all living in different cities (and possibly different countries!). The idea here is that you pick a day when everyone is going to knock off work early, even just an hour or two, and go explore somewhere interesting in their local area (ideally with company funds, set a modest budget ahead of time).

Everyone then does their own local activity, with their family or friends - could be the zoo, a ball game, maybe a hike in the local park. And they share photos and videos to a group spot throughout the day! Point out interesting aspects, share some livestream videos with all of you, so even if you’re not in the same timezone you can appreciate the outing.


Ok over to you Boss - which ones work for your team? What will you try to get the team building action going? Comments and questions welcome!


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