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firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

By auzkhan ·
i hired a guy in my team three months ago since we badly needed another human resource. he looked like an average performer but as the time went on he proved to be less than an average performer and despite repeated warnings to improve he failed to improve. only a few members in team were aware of his incomptency but most were not. finally i had to fire him. but some other team members and a few from the other team got concerned about this, even though i explained the situation to them but they did not seem satisfied with my exlanation and maybe thought even if they were performing well enough they could also get fired like this someday. I wasn't sure how to assure them it was only the case for incompetent people.

has anyone dealt with such a situaion? what are the real concerns of an employee in this situation?

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by BFilmFan In reply to firing an incompetent tea ...

You need to check with HR to see what can be said, and depending on what they tell you, you should inform your team that the person was terminated for (whatever reason HR says you can say).

On the plus side, you can tell your teams that their job performance is acceptable and they are not in danger of being terminated.

And if the other team members are worried, you need to look at your own management style and see what isn't being effective, find a resolution and implement it.

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Techniques of Firing

by underdog In reply to Suggestions

From the wording of your note, it is obvious that there is a problem with your communications skills. Although the person might have been grossly incompetent, diplomacy and tact is rerquired when conveying this to the other members of the team. Do you communicate with your subordinates or do you rule from a throne on high? Circulate a memo requiring all to answer anonymously with suggestions as to how you can communicate more effectively with them. Do not be surprised at the results.
Even you fire someone because they are incompetent, if you do it with respect and humbleness towards the person being released tensions in the team should abate.
This is not a one time situation, you should always treat the members of your team with respect. Afterall, they are the ones who make you look like a genius or a bumbling idiot.

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Fear, sometimes, is not a bad thing...

by nujaidyy In reply to Suggestions

Aristole said:
No one loves the man whom he fears.

If you are worrying that you are not loved becauase your team members fear you or the firing, then let me remind you of a saying to an English Prince - cannot remember his name - when he was asked if he prefer to be respected or feared, he replied "to be feared"!

Second, you do not have to be loved to do superior work, or for your team to produce the highest quality.

However, I am not implying that you use FEAR as work tactics all the time, it is always about balance between reward and punishment, fear and respect.

Employees need to know what is going on. They
need accurate and truthful information. If
you don not supply it, they will invent a version
that corresponds with their experiences or fears. and that you need to avoid in a healthy team. You need to be frank with them stating the actual reasons of incompetence of the fired team member, and share with them that you value them as team members.

Dale Carnegie said:
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

Also, you seem to have built a fear out of your team fears! Better to face a danger once than be always in fear.

Best luck.

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I agree...

by nsim3008 In reply to Fear, sometimes, is not a ...

fear is not always a bad thing, but you do want to have a balance. Employees need to know that their performance is being watched, but they should not have an unneccesary fear about being fired.

I would bring the subject up one more time in a department meeting and give staff the opportunity to discuss any fears and concerns with me at a later time one on one. This would give each individual a chance to voice their concerns without it getting out of hand in a group session.

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Now that we've heard from the gentleman from the 15th Century...

by DC Guy In reply to Fear, sometimes, is not a ...

An English Prince - cannot remember his name - when he was asked if he prefer to be respected or feared, he replied "to be feared"!

Has it occurred to you to wonder why you don't remember the name of the prince who said that? It's because almost everything he knew is now obsolete so nobody remembers him except scholars.

That was the style of management of the pre-industrial era. The vast majority of workers were slaves or yeomen. The people in power didn't care about them except to the extent that they needed to remain physically healthy enough to do physical labor. Fear was a way of preventing laziness or outright rebellion.

We are now TWO eras past the Agricultural Era. The Industrial Era is over and we're now in the Information Age. Civilization has spread to almost every corner of the earth and democracy is rapidly following it.

Fear is no longer an effective motivator. Your employees are mobile and will go work for someone they trust even if he pays less, just to avoid the stress and uncertainty. Or they may go out and start their own businesses. You're not a feudal lord with vassals who can't emigrate without being hunted down by your knights.

It may be a little too California touchy-feely to suggest that managers who are loved get better results. But managers who are at least respected are more successful in the long run than those who frighten and intimidate their subordinates.

Welcome to the new millennium. You have some catching up to do, I see.

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Fear Motivates, But to do What?

by Wayne M. In reply to Fear, sometimes, is not a ...

Fear is merely something to be avoided. Use of fear provides one of two reactions, neither of which implies desired outcomes.

One, in the best case, fear teaches someone to avoid a specific action. It fails to teach a desired replacement action.

Two, fear teaches someone to avoid getting caught. This is particularly true if the individual does not know of a better approach (or disagrees that the alternate is better).

Fear is an inhibitor. It does not spur anyone to better action. It encourages inaction.

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Buy in of the team

by jirka-work In reply to Suggestions

i think it is time to meet the team (weekend, evening) and discuss the fututre
ask how they had decided
explain your targets and motivation (secure team...
one time my former team tuned up a weak team member
and got him successful

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Not necessarily - don't forget human nature...

by zaferus In reply to Suggestions

Why do people in a dept get worried when someone gets fired (even if they all know they deserved it)?

Why do people think of death and mortality when someone close to them dies or a tragedy occurs?

It's human nature - people tend to ponder something when it's close to them because an event has caused them to look up from their daily routine at it.

When someone loses their job everyone naturally thinks "What if that was me? How would I pay my bills? etc..." Remember a death, public speaking and being fired are right up there in what people fear.

Give it some time, and do some team building. It's amazing what a beer and wings on you can do for team morale and communication.

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Walking a fine line

by JamesRL In reply to firing an incompetent tea ...

For legal reasons(ask HR) you can't just up and tell your team the reasons someone was fired. That's unprofessional, and if it gets back to the person who was fired, could be cause for a lawsuit(even if you tell the truth).

You did the right thing in telling them something, but it seems obvious they don't get enough feedback on their own performance, or they wouldn't be so nervous. I suggest you do a mini-review on a regular basis, and I suggest you start sooner rather than later. Tell them what they are doing well, and what they should focus on for improvement. Give them an idea of whether they meet or exceed the expectations for their grade.


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That sounds about right

by stress junkie In reply to Walking a fine line

" seems obvious they don't get enough feedback on their own performance..."

That makes sense to me.

I think that a manager should meet with each employee in a very informal and nonthreatening atmosphere once a week. The manager can acknowledge positive performance in the previous week and the manager can mention any problems that arose. The employee can discuss issues that they may have as well as positive ideas. This probably won't take a lot of time. Just a quick attaboy or wtf along with keeping people informed about new projects or whatever.

None of these ideas are intended to suggest that you should become obsequious. You don't need or want to be everyone's friend. You just need to be fair and treat people with respect and dignity.

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