The 5 Things Bosses Must Never Do When Firing an Employee

Monday 14 April, 2014


A dismissal at work is stressful for everyone involved- not just the employee being fired. Managers need to be capable of communicating any issues regarding performance long before they make the decision to let someone go. The problem is that even when managers do communicate this, some staff members tend to have a trouble receiving the message. After all, nobody wants to believe that he or she is about to get sacked. So an employer’s sensitivity to the situation is key when the time does come. Don’t make the following mistakes next time you need to terminate an employee:


1. Don't make a scene.

Dismissing someone publicly is not an effective way to scare your staff into picking up their performance. These tactics do little more than demoralise the team and create a culture of fear. As difficult as it may be, try to put yourself in their shoes – would you want to be treated that way? Even if you have no choice but to lay off people, pull the individual aside and privately discuss the situation with clarity, giving evidence of why it’s necessary.


2. Don't ignore the absence.

In a small to medium sized team, letting go of an employee doesn’t involve just them but the rest of the staff too, so they must be included accordingly. Obviously not at the same time but do pull the remaining team members aside on the first day that the ex-employee is no longer there and discuss what has happened and what needs to happen next, including any new procedures or practices that must be taken on during this period of transition.


3. Don’t do it on the phone.

Make plans to have the conversation in person, even if this is inconvenient for you. Try to empathise with the person who is about to become unemployed because this conversation is much more about them than it is about you. Expect and prepare for their questions, which they’ll no doubt want answered face-to-face in a meeting and they do deserve as much.


4. Don’t send someone else to do your dirty work.

Basically, if you hired the employee, you should be the one to tell them they’re being let go. It’s never good practice to have someone else do the task. Not only does it make you look like a coward- it’s disrespectful and none of the remaining team members will think highly of you for doing it.


5. Don’t lie

If you lie to them about the reason they’re being fired or if you tell them that you didn’t really want to do this when you did, they will see right through you and they’ll resent you for it in the future. Be honest and try to give your reasons in a constructive tone rather than an insulting one and be gentle when breaking the news, focusing on the best way to allow them to process the information.


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