Natalie Dawson Why I Love Firing People

Why I Love Firing People

August 27, 2021

Is getting fired really such a bad thing? Not necessarily. Here’s why. 

First things first. Of course nobody wants to get fired, but here’s the way that I look at it: As a business owner, each and every day you’re committing yourself and your team to fulfilling the mission of your organization. 

Through your thoughts and words and actions you’re driving everyone forward and making something that didn’t exist before real. And, hopefully, you’re doing it in such a way that you’re solving your customer’s problems, helping your staff achieve their goals, and creating a reality for yourself and those your businesses touch that is better than the one you all had before. 

But sometimes people just aren’t the right fit. Maybe they don’t align with the mission. Maybe their actions don’t reflect the values of your organization. Perhaps, despite repeated (and thoroughly documented!) attempts at resetting the situation, you just can’t get this team member on the same page as the rest of the team. 

Wait a second. Who is the leader here? (Hint: It’s you! Don’t forget it!)

At a certain point, you have to remind yourself that you are the leader, you’re setting the vision for this organization, and if you have people working against the fulfillment of your mission, then it’s time to part ways. And that’s okay. It’s certainly better for you and your company, and it’s probably better for them in the long run, too. Who wants to work at a company they don’t totally believe in?

Here’s another harsh reality. You’re never going to be perfect at hiring. With the right training and the right insight, you’ll get a heck of a lot better at it, but you’re gonna kiss a few toads in the process. People will disappoint you. People will interview wonderfully and then perform terribly once they’re on the job. You might even question your instincts from time to time. But you’ll also find some incredible people along the way. 

Knowing how to fire at the right time for the right reasons creates a better company culture.

This is one of the reasons why I love firing people. It creates a business’s culture. I don’t mean a “culture of firing” where we’re just letting people go left and right for the hell of it. What I mean is that our expectations are so clear, our values are so well defined, and our performance improvement process is so thoroughly structured that there’s really no mystery here. 

Just as important, setting expectations clearly and firing quickly (and compliantly) provides an example to the rest of the team members of your organization that we hold people accountable, and that, most importantly, we’re not going to allow low-performing team members to drag the rest of the company down. 

I promise you that if you do not do this, this will drastically lower the morale of your team, their performance will suffer, and the organization as a whole will begin to falter. It’s a domino effect. You let this slide, and other things will surely follow. 

To put a finer point on it, firing people who are undermining the integrity of the organization kills the cancer. Don’t cut it out and the cancer spreads. 

Knowing how to fire will help you find the right people to 10X your business. 

You’re also creating new opportunities to bring new people into the company that might just blow your mind with their sense of enthusiasm. These are the people that you’d never have the chance to bring into the organization because you’ve settled for a longtime employee who might not even be meeting the minimum requirements, but you’re keeping them around because of history vs. performance. Remember, this is a business. You can have great relationships, but they need to be built on the foundation of serving your customers. 

So, this is why I love firing people. Because, ultimately, it makes companies stronger. It filters out the people who don’t even want to be there in the first place. You’re telling the rest of your team that you have their backs because you won’t let low performers drag the rest of them down. And, most of all, you’re expressing the vision of your leadership — that your business has a mission, it has a vision, and that it has values that each and every one of you is striving to exemplify. Those who can’t, or won’t, should go, for the benefit of everyone. What’s not to love?

Learn more about hiring, firing, and building great teams at our next People Essentials workshop. A great company needs a great team. 

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