A failure of leadership

By Steve Keating via stevekeating.me   Article

“Being fired from a job is one of the most traumatic events a person could experience in their lifetimes. Researchers say it is up there with the death of a loved one, divorce, imprisonment, and personal illness.

The decision by a leader to dismiss someone from their job is not a decision that should be taken lightly. It can and often does have huge life implications for the person being fired; the feelings of failure often linger even after they find new employment.

But the person being fired isn’t the only one who should feel a sense of failure. So should the leader who fired them.

Here’s why I say that. If you’re a leader and you have someone working for you who isn’t getting the job done then the likely cause is either that you hired the wrong person or you’re not providing them the tools or training they need to succeed.

Either way at least part of their failure is on you. With that in mind you may want to think a little harder before firing someone who isn’t meeting your expectations.

I suppose you could use the excuse that you inherited a person that someone else hired. That may let you off the hook a little but only a little. Leaders build and develop people no matter how and where they find them. If you have someone reporting to you that you are unable to develop then that’s at least a partial failure of your leadership.

Now, here is another failure of leadership: NOT firing someone who needs to be fired.

No matter how someone got to a point where they need to be fired, no matter who is responsible for that person’s shortcomings, when they need to go then they need to go. Allowing  an unproductive, possibly disruptive person to damage the morale or productivity of the greater team is a serious failure of leadership.

You might believe you’re avoiding conflict by ignoring the problems caused by a poor performer but what you’re really doing is fermenting greater conflict throughout your organization.”

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