After the “firing”, Lucy Liu shows us the job still isn’t done.
In the movie “Kill Bill”, after cutting off someone’s head in full view of her team, O-Ren Ishii needed to address the proverbial “Elephant in the room”. Lucy Liu does just that and explains the reason for the dismissal to her entire “team”.
Once you’ve fired an employee the process still isn’t over! You must now consider the messaging to your team. Depending on factors such as the seniority level, reason for dismissal, the number of years they worked, you may or may not feel the need for a face to face team meeting as sometimes an email will suffice. But either way, it’s important to proactively manage the communication surrounding any dismissal.
What to consider when addressing your staff about an employee’s dismissal.
1. Keep it professional and simple. No need to drag someone else’s career through the mud. Just say something along the lines of there wasn’t a long-term fit, they weren’t meeting your expectations etc. They will get the message.
2. Reassure them that this person was given a fair trial period to alleviate the concerns I wrote about previously regarding their own positions.
3. Where is the work heading? If one person is taking on an expanded role in the short term, it’s best to let them know beforehand in private rather than spring it up on them during a meeting. It also gives you an opportunity to praise this person’s ability to the team. “Kate has been doing an exemplary job, and although I know it’s a large load to carry, I am sure she can handle it in the short term while we find a suitable replacement”
4. Let them ask questions. Again, don’t breach personal space, but try and give as specific answers as possible regarding the situation. This is part of being a manager, balancing the need for privacy and transparency.
5. Let them know if they have any additional concerns you are happy to talk with them further in private. Some employees might need time to process the information. Be sure you maintain high visibility that day and don’t make an early exit.
6. Let them talk amongst themselves. If you see your team huddled around the coffee machine, take a break another time. Sometimes its best to let them talk things through.
7. Reinforce the positive! This is a team of hard working people, who generate results, and give their all.
8. They may or may not care that much about the person who was just let go but better leave nothing to chance. So, make sure you do something in the coming days to keep your team’s spirits high.
Firing an employee cab be both heart-crushing and liberating. Leaders need to always keep their eyes on the long-term success and if someone is dragging down the team, it’s time to part ways. The message you are sending to everyone else is that you care enough about them to make some tough decisions.