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10 questions to ask yourself before firing an employee

If you're about to say goodbye to someone on your team, stop for a moment and assess your leadership and recruiting qualities.

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Are you about to fire an employee ? Wait a second. The fact that an employee is not performing according to your expectations could be your problem and not theirs. Whenever you are tempted to fire someone, use that feeling as an opportunity to learn. You must ask yourself how this happened and how you can prevent it from happening again.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before saying 'goodbye' to someone:

1. Does the employee know what to do?

This is the first question to ask yourself if the person doesn't meet your expectations, according to Executive Coach Gary Bradt. Leaders often think that they have been clear in setting expectations, when in reality they are not. “Telling someone what to do is not enough. The only way to make sure that the employee knows what you expect is to tell him in his words what your expectations are and how you will measure them, ”he says. "Usually the problem is here, so check this point first."

2. Does the person have the skills and tools to do the job?

Perhaps your employee knows what you expect of him, but does not have the capacity to do so. In that case, make sure you give him the correct tools and training to help him get the job done. If you don't have the time or money to give that training, at least make sure you match the person's skills with the demands of the job. "Asking someone to do a good job when they lack the necessary tools is poor leadership," adds Bradt.

3. Is it a motivation problem?

Providing training to help an employee improve is good, but when an employee is not motivated there may be nothing to fix. "Even the best training can't fix an unmotivated employee," says Eric Chester, staff motivation expert and author. "So before you fire him, make sure you can't fix the situation."

4. Is there a problem with the hiring process?

Sometimes we blame the person when we have to focus on the process, advises David Goldsmith, a leadership expert. He suggests taking a look at hiring practices, rethinking candidates based on their talents and abilities rather than titles, considering past accomplishments despite current circumstances, and making improvements to recruitment methodologies to find the best. candidates.

5. How good is my initiation process?

When you introduce people to your company, do you guide them in the culture and the way you do things, or do you expect them to notice it for themselves? Do you tell them what to do if they have questions, or do you give them a procedure to follow if they are not sure how to answer? "You can save a lot of time and money by giving new hires support to be successful and productive from day one, rather than wasting time and energy trying to figure out how things work," says Bradt.

6. Are my expectations too high?

Before you hired the person you are about to fire, you had an expectation in mind. Was it realistic? Did you hire someone thinking they would be a clone of you? "Maybe you set the bar too high that no one can reach it, and now you act out of frustration," Chester notes. He suggests rethinking your initial expectations and reminding yourself that the replacement won't be like you either.

7. Have I given you specific feedback, based on a behavior?

Telling an employee how they can improve is a challenge for many bosses. However, without proper feedback on what is working and what is not, improvement is not possible. “For example, imagine throwing golf balls to improve your swing without observing where they landed. How will you know what you need to adjust? ”Says Badt. Employees need action-specific feedback to improve their performance, and it's your job to give it.

8. Am I rewarding the correct behaviors?

Some companies say they want teamwork but reward individual efforts. Some say they want to minimize internal competition, but establish incentive systems like trips that do. "If you're not getting the behavior you want from your employees, challenge your reward system to make sure it reinforces the behavior you want," says Bradt. "The people you want to fire could be doing what the system rewards them to do."

9. Have you washed your hands during the process?

Goldsmith cautions leaders to be accessible through any process. "That doesn't mean that leaders should be on top of employees, but they need to be present physically or virtually," he says. If they are not available 24/7 they should at least be in contact during certain intervals where employees can approach them and ask questions and get the necessary support to continue with the project. Without that guidance, the employee is destined to fail.

10. Could this person succeed in another position?

"Imagine if Peyton Manning was used defensively, or if Mick Jagger had to sing opera," suggests Chester. "They would be in the correct line of work, but not in the position." Maybe that lousy dental assistant could be a great receptionist; Or the guy who doesn't close a sale could create some amazing promotional copy. Before firing, ask yourself if you put the person in the best position to develop their strengths.

Lisa Girard

Written By

Lisa Girard is a freelance writer who covers topics as diverse as golf fashion, health and beauty, the hardware industry and small business interests. She also has been Senior Apparel Editor for PGA Magazine for more than a decade.