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What Should You Do if a Key Employee Quits Because of Another Staffer? Sometimes the answer is an injection of emotional intelligence and a little tough love.

By Simon Lovell Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

SrdjanPav | Getty Images

Sometimes it's the right decision for someone to leave your company, but what happens when a key performer quits because of another member of staff and you feel that the person should have stayed?

Chances are you're faced with a tough dilemma, especially if you like the person who you're now considering firing. You feel an added pressure because it's not the first time that you learned that this person has been causing friction throughout the workforce.

When a member of staff doesn't listen to your instructions and fails to take action, you can only let it slide so many times before you start to feel more and more disrespected.

Related: 6 Ways to Reinvigorate Your Team After Firing an Employee

This is exactly what happened recently with a client and I'm going to share with you exactly what I did to create a powerful breakthrough in the company.

In this situation, the staff member did not listen to the instructions of the CEO, and so my first course of action was to find out why they did not listen by getting the CEO to ask them.

Once we find out why we can better understand the mindset of the individual and their decision-making process. If we don't understand why we will continue to be confused at the outcome, in this case, a key player leaving the company.

My client had expressed that the employee had an "inflated ego" and was also taking the stance of "I'm right" the majority of the time. It was only a matter of time before another employee quit because of the actions of this person.

Sometimes when we have an inflated ego, when we use our power to bring others down, when we are always needing to be "right," it indicates insecurity. So I asked the CEO to have an honest, transparent conversation to get to the bottom of what was really going on vs what was being presented.

In this case, the staff member had a fear of being fired by the CEO, which was causing him to be defensive, using his power in unhealthy ways, and creating a hostile environment for others. The state of fear encourages worry, which in this case created an unhealthy behavior.

I encouraged the CEO to bring in transparency within the company so that fears can be expressed vs being suppressed. This takes courage, but the outcome can create a big breakthrough.

When you start to develop both emotional intelligence within yourself and then with others, the nervous system starts to relax. It's in this relaxed state that we access our true authentic power and we can operate from a place of calm confidence.

Related: Avoid Elon Musk-Style Firing Sprees by Having Hard Conversations

By expressing "I'm scared of losing my job," the CEO has a chance to communicate what would actually cause an employee to be fired vs the employee creating a mental story about when and how this would happen.

We fear speaking the truth because of what will happen, yet in this situation, the truth created a deeper connection between the CEO and the employee. This has a positive impact on the other staff who were on the receiving end someone who was simply scared.

Here are a few tips for creating a culture of honesty, transparency, and a positive mindset.

Take complaints seriously, act quickly

If there starts to become a theme of someone becoming toxic within your company then address it quickly and start asking questions such as "what are you feeling?". Feeling based questions are best because it helps people access their heart.

Discuss the values of the company and ensure that it's clear what is acceptable and what is not acceptable from on how to communicate.

Discover whether they are open to growth

A good sign when bringing up how others feel is to notice whether the person continues to be defensive. If they are concerned about how others feel and want to put it right they would have emotional intelligence. If they are not concerned and blame and do not want to resolve the situation then this would indicate that they have low emotional intelligence. Their openness to put things right, learn, and grow is a very good indicator of whether you should keep them or let them go.

Related: Amazon Draws Criticism for Firing Employee Who Led Coronavirus Protest

Set a new standard within the company

Any event or situation like this should create a new system within the company. Discuss with your HR department how to improve hiring, onboarding, and conscious conversations that can lead to everyone learning. Anybody impacted by the employee should be spoken with so that the energy is cleared and everyone understands that the issue has been resolved. If anybody does not feel resolve, there is still a chance of people quitting.

Cultivate a strong focus on emotional business intelligence within the company and you will keep more staff, have happier staff and the business will grow and thrive. When a company feels good, it's simply healthier.

Simon Lovell

Executive Coach

Simon Lovell is an executive coach and creator of The Super High Performance Formula.

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