As with so many things in life, when it comes to letting someone go there are right ways and wrong ways to handle the situation. As someone who has done it both ways, I have learned some things about how, and how not, to act when an employee is terminated.
I have been a “boss” for 20 years, first as the practice manager for a group of doctors, and for the last 11 years in my own practice. There are many blessings that come with being a boss- The relationships forged with employees, the ability to say, “Thank you” in tangible ways, and the ability to support these workers when they go through difficult times.
There are many blessings, but firing someone is definitely not one of them. It is one of the most agonizingly difficult aspects of being a Christian employer.
Even when the decision seems obvious, I still struggle and wrestle with questions-
How do I still show love as a Christian? Should I give a third, fourth or fifth chance?
When does grace toward one employee lead toward resentment in another?
When do additional chances become enabling bad behavior?
Do I follow the advice of HR experts and just say, “It's not working out?” or do I give more information to allow the employee to process what happened?
In order not to repeat mistakes I have made over the years, I try to apply a few basic principles to guide me when the time comes to let someone go-
1- Ask first- “Have I given this employee every opportunity to succeed?” Give them every chance you would want to be given.
2- Sleep on it- Don't impulsively make a decision that impacts someone's livelihood.
3- Avoid Anger- It has no place. It demeans them and diminishes you.
4- Be kind- There is no need to tear someone down. They just lost their job.
5- Avoid Gossip- With rare exception, when performance is poor, other people already know. If you have done your job well employees will know you did not make a rash decision.
6- Pray for the employee- Before and after you let them go. God's love for them has not changed, neither should yours.
20 years of being a boss and I still struggle. Which might be a good thing. Donald Trump makes it look way to easy-If it becomes easy, I might need to be concerned about myself!