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  • #2183931

    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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    • #3186293


      by bfilmfan ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      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.

      • #3069973

        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.

      • #3070402

        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.

        • #3069142

          I agree…

          by nsim3008 ·

          In reply to Fear, sometimes, is not a bad thing…

          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.

        • #3137109

          Now that we’ve heard from the gentleman from the 15th Century…

          by dc guy ·

          In reply to Fear, sometimes, is not a bad thing…

          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.

        • #3136944

          Fear Motivates, But to do What?

          by wayne m. ·

          In reply to Fear, sometimes, is not a bad thing…

          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.

      • #3120405

        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

      • #3120273

        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.

    • #3186276

      Walking a fine line

      by jamesrl ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      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.


      • #3194397

        That sounds about right

        by stress junkie ·

        In reply to Walking a fine line

        “…it 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.

    • #3194337

      firing impact

      by cab2 ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      Hiring and promoting are the two most risky activities for a manager. You make a mistake, and that mistake is in your face, and your people’s face every day.
      Firing the right person for the right reason is almost easy in comparison. Maybe not easy on you, but your people will get over it real soon, because the problem is gone.

    • #3189582

      A tricky situation

      by amcol ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      Firing someone is the second hardest thing any manager has to do. The hardest is laying someone off…you have to look someone in the eye and say “You’ve done a good job and added value but you can’t work here anymore”. Avoid these situations if possible…no fun for anyone.

      I’m guessing this may be your first experience firing someone, or at least the first time you’ve had to fire someone you personally hired and so quickly after their start date. You may be feeling guilty about that, or perhaps you’re thinking you’ve not done your job well. Get over it.

      The comments by the other posters are valuable and make sense. You have to be careful what you tell your remaining staff for a couple of reasons…legal constraints, and you want to manage the message.

      I suspect this is the origin of your problem. Your best bet would have been to have a short, sweet meeting with your staff, no more than about 30 seconds, in which you could have said something along the lines of you regretfully had to report that as it turned out Joe Blow’s skills were not consistent with his job responsibilities and as such you had to let Joe go. You could have gone on to say you took responsibility for this…as the hiring manager it’s your job to identify the best possible candidates and that didn’t turn out to be the case. Finished.

      In situations such as this, less is more. These are the types of things you want to handle and move on, quickly. You want to be seen as a strong competent manager who wants to be surrounded by strong competent employees, but at the same time you’re willing to admit your mistakes. Plus, most importantly, you always want to accentuate the positive rather than dwell on the negative.

      You say the person you hired looked like an average performer. Why did you hire someone who you expected to only be average? This all by itself sends a bad message to staff. I’m guessing your remaining staff may have some competency issues…managers who tolerate mediocrity in some typically tolerate it in all. If so, it’s no wonder they’re all gossiping about this…people typically give themselves a lot more credit for competency than they deserve, but at the same time most folks also know their own limitations.

      I’d advise you to address this situation simply. It would be wrong at this point to convene any meetings or have any discussions about what’s already happened…it’s water under the bridge, and the only thing you can do by continuing to discuss it is make things worse. Get everyone concentrating on their work. That’s what they’re supposed to be doing anyway, and if they’re working they’ll have less time for water cooler conversation and maybe their own performances will improve in the process.

      This will all blow over sooner rather than later, if you handle it professionally. Allow it to simply run its course and get everyone focused on their jobs

      • #3049327

        Why he hired the guy

        by jfpsf ·

        In reply to A tricky situation

        He said in his post that he hired the guy because “he badly needed another human resource.” In other words, he needed somebody bad, and couldn’t find anybody who was good.

    • #3049172

      What you can tell them

      by lucyfur ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      You could inform them of the company procedure for such a firing, ie repeated verbal and written warnings, agreement of the improvements required and only moving on to the next stage when it was clear this was not happening.
      Explain he had been through the FULL procedure, this was not a surprise to him as it was to them when he left.
      Reassure them that no-one in the department at the moment is even close to a first warning, and that even if such a thing were to occur, they would have to completely ignore the agreed changes for the next stage to arise, which knowing them would not happen.

    • #3066525

      Well, don’t you still need someone?

      by royhayward ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      I know one of the things that I look at to gage the health of my company is the relationship of “It was nice to work with you” emails and “we have an opening for” emails.

      If you lets “Joe Low performer” go, and then turn around and advertize to your team, “We need a new guy to replace ‘Joe’, but we need someone who is going to (insert buzzword here) and be a great performer and hard worker.” You don’t have to say anything about the guy who just left.

      If you have a company referal bonus program so much the better.

      This way you can say “the guy we just fired wans’t carrying his wieght” without haveing to say it about him. If someone commes back at you with well why was “Joe” fired, it is easy to answer that you can’t discuss that for leagal reasons. You have already given everyone the answer or enough people that they will all hear it.

      But at the same time, they can see that the company is not just letting people go, in fact they really still need to hire some.

      • #3056311

        Moving quickly was the right thing to do

        by goingmobile ·

        In reply to Well, don’t you still need someone?

        Excellent advice above: advertise the new opening to the team as it indicates that the whole team is moving on. I’m going to remember that!

        One thing you did right: you let the low performer go quickly. Many low performers are allowed to stay around because it is so hard to fire someone. The longer they stay, the harder it is to justify their firing and the harder it is for the rest of the team to understand.

        I haven’t had to hire in a few years, but did go through the gut wrenching process of being forced to lay off a lot of people (first average, then excellent) in ’01 and ’02. This makes me wonder how I will handle the average hire in the future; will I be sympathetic and try to bring them to a higher level; or will I dump them quickly because I’ve been spoiled by now working with only the best of the best?

    • #3056298

      Clear objectives and protocols regarding performance

      by melanie ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      Hi Auzkhan,
      I had to that recently as well, however, I didn’t meet with the problems you had. For one, I established from the beginning, my unit’s goals, expectations for performance as well as corrective action and disciplinary guidelines for when performance did not meet with the protocols.

      I’ve also set in place an open door policy for my staff to feel comfortable coming in to talk to me about anything.

      In your situation, short of reassuring your staff, there might not be too much you can do, but let it blow over. However, if you don’t already have performance guidelines and protocols in place with a clear communication policy. In my opinion this would be the first step in the right direction to minimize future problems.

      Hope this helps.

    • #3056187

      Set Expectations For Remaining Staff

      by wayne m. ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      First, remind yourself that the problem is not about the person that you let go. The problem is the concerns of the staff that are still on the project.

      You do not need to discuss why you fired the poor performer. You may have made the right decision or you may have made the wrong decision, but in either case it is done and is immaterial to the issue at hand.

      What you need to do is to determine what concerns your team and how wide spread the concerns may be. I would suggest that you have a one-on-one discussion with each member of the team. Announce what you are going to do prior to the first one-on-one meeting; you need to keep rumors under control. Select a private location where conversations will not be overheard. Start with the person you feel most comfortable with, but the second person should be the one you are least comfortable with. Remember, the purpose of the one-on-one is for you to listen and gather information, do not react or try to explain or justify anything at this time. I find it helpful to have a pen and notepad to jot down comments rather than reacting to them.

      I usually use a written out script because these situations may become uncomfortable and you really don’t want to have to think on the fly. Start out with something like, “I just want to take a quick temperature check on the project and see how things are going.” Then proceed to a series of questions like, “How is the project treating you?” “What things are going well?” “What things need improvement?” “What things should I do differently?” Trust me, this last question will be very difficult to ask.

      Make sure to talk to everyone on the team. Do not leave anyone out. Also, don’t dawdle. Try to complete all the one-on-ones within 1 or 2 days. Now review your notes and look for common themes. Look for things that were expressed multiple times and give less focus to items raised only by a single individual, no matter how strenuously they were raised.

      Now, report back to your team. Tell them what things appear to be working and what appear to be problem areas. You do not need to provide any solutions, merely acknowledge the rough spots and make a commitment to address them.

      This is a difficult technique to apply, especially the first time with a new team. It is certainly not a magic bullet, but it is a first step in identifying and resolving issues that are interfering with your team. Good luck and don’t delay.

      • #3118347

        Meet as a group first

        by smiller ·

        In reply to Set Expectations For Remaining Staff

        I agree that what Wayne is recommending might help. However, I would recommend you start the process with a team meeting. Let everyone know you are going to have these one-on-one discussions and give them them some of the questions you will be asking. If you give them 1-2 days to think about the questions, you may get more thoughtful and intelligent answers, plus the “fear” factor created by “surprise” one-on-ones meetings can be dispelled before it starts.

    • #3057531

      Incompetency Costs

      by radu.d ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      Everybody , at some point, had in his/ her organisation a “lost goat” or a “black sheep” and you know that the old saying that one bad apple cand harm the others is true.
      The question is if the guy was in the right position or not. If ,let’s say, hired a person to do a certain job and you are trying to make him do something else then is a managerial problem and the person should not suffer from this.
      I’m starting to think that most of those problems are coming from the Human Resources department which should have had the competency to find the right candidate dor the right job. Afterall, that is their day to day ocupation.
      So the Manager should not feel bad if he sees that a team mate does not the job he was instructed to and he should fire him after some warnings and advices.

      • #3069350

        Compitency Testing helps

        by tcold ·

        In reply to Incompetency Costs

        For IT roles, compitency testing helps identify if the candidate actually knows what tyey claim on the resume or in an interview; however, a Department manager should not blindly trust HR for selection, nor should a manager blame HR for the individual’s failings.

    • #3069477

      Vacuum of leadership

      by soul_bro ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      You knew during the interview, this person wasn’t qualified enough. Yet, you hired him.

      Don?t you know: Your team?s failure is a mirror of your managerial skills? You set him, your team and yourself for failure. As they say, reap what you sow.

      I know the answer to your question. Time and experience are better teachers. You should learn the answer the hard way.

      Work on your managerial skills.

    • #3069475

      Was firing really necessary?

      by questor1 ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      I wonder if the Supervisor or company management really tried to look into the root cause of why the team member did not perform up to expectations.

      It is one thing to order someone to “shape up or ship out” as if they are in the military. It is a better approach to look into whether the person had the right tools (software, hardware, physical, and mental capabilities) to perform the job.

      Were management expectations of the employee clearly and consistently conveyed to the employee? Were these expectations measurable and documented in writing? Did the person who got fired need additional training?

      It seems that if these requirements were properly documented, other employees would not be scared if you discussed this in a meeting with your employees without spefically mentioning the person that got fired.

      • #3106929

        You can’t alway waste alot of time

        by jesc ·

        In reply to Was firing really necessary?

        You can’t save everyone. Sometimes you just need someone to get the work done. Since the employee in question had been on the job for a short period of time it may have made sense to cut ’em loose rather than spending a bunch of time figuring out what is wrong with them.

        It may sound mean, but sometimes there just isn’t time to nurture. You need to go back to nature and find a more fit match for the company.

    • #3069464

      Why didnt they know?

      by court it ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      Maybe your IT people are different than the ones that work with me, but word spreads really quickly about the person who can’t or won’t do their part of the job, just as a matter of self preservation. And, if you’ve explained the situation to them and they’re still worried about their positions, then you might want to take a closer look at what they’re doing. It might be that they’re doing a good job, but they don’t realize it. If they feel threatened, then it might be that either they aren’t doing what needs to be done, or they feel they aren’t doing what needs to be done. Just a thought.

      • #3069377


        by dennyg ·

        In reply to Why didnt they know?

        I was struck, too, by the fact that a ‘Team’ would not recognize that a ‘Team Member’ was failing in their duties? Having said that, why would the ‘Team’ expect anything less than the person in question losing their job? Just my thought.

      • #3072317

        Maybe you were the LAST to know!

        by jvbrady ·

        In reply to Why didnt they know?

        It’s not uncommon that a manager agonizes over a firing that everybody else is amazed didn’t happen weeks ago! Unless the entire crew is lacking basic knowledge and incompetence, it’s more than likely that they not only noticed, but suffered from, this person’s lack or slack. Popularity and competence as we all know are two independent qualities, so when it comes to firing – and promotion, for that matter – your subordinates will feel most secure if they understand your actions are based on the latter, not the former. If this person was a highly popular person and somehow managed to mask the incompetence, only then would you have a significant communications task. Do what you have to do with grace and dignity, then dismiss it from your worries and your workers will, too.

    • #3069455

      The Job environment

      by dask ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      Although firing a person for non-performance or less then satisfactory performance is comparitively easier then letting a competent person go during a reduction in force (RIF).

      In this case, if the work and performance process within your unit is effective, people will realize (possibly over time) that:
      1. Informal performance reviews (at least qtrly) should provide them with where they stand and whether they are lacking, meet or exceed the standards of performance and/or conduct.
      2. Maintaining clear understanding of what the performance and conduct standards are.
      3. Maintaining an open and honest relationship that is fair to all contributors to the success of the organization.

      These are just a few ideas to continue long relationships with co-worker and associates.

      Believe it or not, until people recognize that the firing of one person was not a whim, I will bet that productivity goes up in certain people within your group. You find that those workers capabilities truly exceed the norm. Satisfy their need by commenting on how thrilled you are with their productivity. Don’t know if that will last, but people do like a warm fuzzy when they do something good or exceed the norm. They deserve those good comments and if it is aprapos, do it in front of their peers. I was always taught, “Praise in public, pan in private”.

      On the same token, if someone’s performance is below standards, provide feedback one on one. In some cases, depending on the circumstances, you may have to document the meeting. It may be necessary to corroborate any disciplinary action that might be necessary if the issue continues.

      Bottom line is that people need to understand their work environment so that they realize that management is not made up of a bunch of flakes. They like consistency and fairness. Sort of like your family.

      Anyway, don’t dwell on why the person was let go. And definitely don’t go into details about it for it could lead to issues. Suffice it to say that if you periodically counselled the employee on performance or lack of performance, then it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone.

    • #3069363

      Just the opposite

      by tcold ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      The US has allowed a culture of sub-par work ethic to grow. In the increasingly global marketplace, US workers must expect to work for the superior compensation most receive. Regardless of appropriate present compensation, Non-performers should fear being fired, and performers should be rewarded. Understanding your struggle with labor shortages, it’s often a good thing, in the long-run, to fire a non-performer for cause. If your encouraging word is not sufficient for the fearful, that he/she is doing well, then you’ve got a larger problem on your hands.

    • #3066194

      Great Job

      by matthew.abernathy ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      You got rid of an incompetent member of your team and got the rest to re-evaluate their level of effort. It’s natural to be nervous when a teammate is canned. It’s also natural to try to ensure your not doing what they did to lose their job. You have explained your position to your team, go home and sleep well.


      • #3066188


        by don’tquityourdayjob ·

        In reply to Great Job

        Clearly – that was NOT the intent. Some people WILL now leave the first chance they get. Instead of needing just one more person – he’s probably going to need two or three in the near future.

        When YOU fire someone YOU hired it is an admitted failure on your part as a manager just as much as it is on the person that was fired.

      • #3070093

        Intimidation & Fear does not foster employee loyalty

        by questor1 ·

        In reply to Great Job

        While short term “productivity” (employees work harder due to fear) may have risen, what are the long term costs on employee loyalty to the company?

        Worker intimidation and/or fear with threaten job loss will cause loyal long term employees to leave for what they perceive are “better” or less stressful jobs. This will cause higher HR costs to recruit/retain/train new prospective employees.

        Who really benefits when good employees leave due to job intimidation and fear?

    • #3066192

      Hiring Process

      by don’tquityourdayjob ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      I guess that if I was working for you I’d be more concerned about why you hired this person in the first place?

      One of management’s responsibilities is to identify potential talent and to determine if that person fits your organization and not just your department.

      It was just as much a failure on your part as their manager as it was his. Also, what were your expectations of this position compared to the rest of the team!?

      As a manager do not expect to just be able to “plug in” a body when the need is there. Maybe some in the team are questioning your ability to identify the talent required to fill the position. In other words, are they asking “how long will the next one last?”

      Hiring people that do not pull their weight or that are incompetent will burden the team – maybe more so than not hiring someone for the position.

      • #3065939

        anyone that has managed for a while

        by robroynj ·

        In reply to Hiring Process

        is likely to have made a mistake in this regard. You normally get such a short period of time and a very artifical environment to evaluate a candidate that at some point you will make a mistake. It does no good to keep that person for an extended time if you’re convinced that the person doesn’t work out. Is it a management failure? No. Is it hard? Yes. Many avoid this at all costs and keep damaging employees way too long. I’ve fired 3 people in 30 years and I was sick about all three. Two of them have thanked me later for waking them up.

        Your team is skittish. The best thing you can do is replace the person quickly but thoughtfully and reassure people that this isn’t a staff reduction but a failure to find a good match for the company or the employee you let go.

        Of course they are nervous. Of course you can’t say that it won’t happen again. But you can do the hard work of finding the right person this time and talk about what the team needs with your other employees.

        Good luck.

        • #3069940

          From the previous – Firing is naive……

          by scgoyal ·

          In reply to anyone that has managed for a while

          Since 75 characters is the limit, I could not provide the solution for the problem. Contd…

          I think the only solution to bring results quickly, is that your senior management must act and kick you out for your incompetencies to demonstrate management credibility and leadership. The grouds to fire you are –

          1. You hired an average person according to your perception. Did not do right job. You can definitely judge a person in an hour’s interview if you are a manager.
          2. You did not support the hired person to deliver and develop. Could not mentor and did not act appropriately. Firing is easy and to develop someone is a challenge. Runnung away from challenges is unbecoming. Warning the employee is negative and supporting is positive action.
          3. You lack team spirit and general leadership qualities.

          If management does not wish to bring this confidence quickly (since management wanted to bring in a little stir in the organization), you must be demoted and trained in human skills.

        • #3069915


          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to From the previous – Firing is naive……

          Boy I’m glad I don’t work with you.

          You criticise the poster for firing when they should have, and then go on to suggest the OP should be fired (later you suggest demoted)- do you see the inconsistency in logic there?

          1. As to judging by the interview, its true you should use not only the interview but other resources. But there are people in this world with excellent communications and selling skills that are great at interviews, but don’t have the work habits to make themselves successful. It is challenging to draw this out during an interview, and I would happily suggest that you have to be an above average interviewer to succeed in sorting these things out. I became a good interviewer, with experience, training and coaching, but its not an easy journey. As hiring average employees, don’t you understand that most people (despite their own perceptions of themselves) are average? Not every company has the means to hire all exceptional staff.

          2. There are people who are just not interested in developing and growing. They want the job and once they have it, do not feel the need to develop and grow. All the attempts at coaching and mentoring in the world aren’t affective if the person receiving the attention is not motivated to accept it. And those people, the ones who don’t want it, do exist.

          3. You lack compassion, perspective and empathy.


    • #3065926

      firing an employee

      by francis_tudlong ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      For me its normal to fire incompetent employee but you need also to understand not only because its businesss but also you need to learn from that person and take some alternatives that can make him/her competent. its good that the people we fired got their new jobs and we’re happy with that.

    • #3070048

      Hiring for Firing !!!!

      by straight view ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      why did u take him in the first place. Did u realize what caused his incompetence ?? Could u help him in some way to get through the bottlenecks which he was creating !! As a manager u need not only give the warning but also need to analyze people!! This is the quality which i feel most often people dont posses and they dont even wish to possess. If these things apply on you then you are the first guy to be kicked out of the organisation.

    • #3069969

      Firing is naive, demonstrate leadership

      by scgoyal ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      I think firing an employee is naive. In the first place, if perceived an average person, should not have been hired. If hired, because of your own reasons, he must have been supported, encouraged and managed. I cannot believe that an employee can perform below average if the person is supported well. It looks to be the incompetency of the employee’s manager and it is obvious from the fact that others do not believe manager’s explanation (nobody trusts, leadership is questionable). It will take time to manage employee concern by showing real support and sincerity of management words. Remember, no human being is a bad performer if proper management is provided. I have extensive practical experience of managing low performer and turned them into excellent performers.

      • #3069865

        Bingo – but most people don’t know how to interview

        by the chad ·

        In reply to Firing is naive, demonstrate leadership

        Asking questions from the Big Book of Interview Questions* is _not_ the way to conduct an interview. Remember, the purpose of an interview is to answer the following two questions:
        1) Can the person do the job to the level I expect?
        2) Will the person fit in with the rest of the team/company?

        #2 is answered by your (and some of your other employees’) meeting with the candidate and doing a gut check.

        #1 is answered by having the person ACTUALLY do some work, if not the actual project you are hiring for, then something similar. It can be ‘take-home’ or ‘do before the interview’, as long as it accurately reflects the type of work the person will do day-to-day.

        In fact, if the manager in question requires some ‘do before the interview’ work, then that will automatically smoke out 99% of all slackers, because they can’t be bothered–just what you want to know about the person _before_ you hire him/her.



        *Stupid questions like, “Where do you see yourself in n years,” “What’s your greatest strength and/or weakness,” “Tell me about a project/product you worked on at your previous company,” etc. — if you think any of these are good questions, then you don’t know how to interview. Period.

      • #3060532

        Topgrading the Organization

        by ellenma8 ·

        In reply to Firing is naive, demonstrate leadership

        Ditto on the comment above: shame on you for hiring to average. You — the hiring manager — your job is to build the team to excellence. HR is your partner in this but you ultimately own it. Read “Topgrading the Organization” by Bradford D. Smart and Geoffrey H. Smart. It will help you in your selection and hiring interviewing skills. You’ll find a 6-7 pg. overview article .pdf on the web, and you can buy a new hardcopy of the 400-pg book for under $10 on Amazon. If you use the techniques in your hiring and day-to-day management of your team, they not only won’t be fearful of their own positions, they will appreciate that you recognized your mis-hire and acted on it.

    • #3070485


      by lovely ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      Speaking from an employee perspective, from what I can read, the ones that are probably scared are the ones that did not know exactly how incompetent the employee really was. I think a confidential group meeting would be in order so people can voice their concerns. It may seem a bit tackey to talk about an employee that has been let go for incompetence, however if the others knew exactly what mistakes this person was making or what level this person wasn’t at technically, they would go out of there way not to make the same mistakes. That in itself would be reassurance that they aren’t getting fired because they would know not what to do. For instance, If this incompentent employee was reapeatidly asking the same questions, mention that you only like questions to be asked once and that you wish employees write things down; buy your employees note books abd encourage them to use them. If the employee has written something down and then makes an honest effort to do something, at least they have been genuine in their efforts.

      You could also say that the employee had a skill set of a desktop person and not a systems person and did not realize that until he had worked with the team for a while. You could site some examples that prove this..say he didn’t know anything about active directory. This would give the other team members reassurance as they all know that they know things about active directory as they are still sitting in their chairs and not the unemployment office.

      • #3058060

        Bad Form – The person fired deserves more respect

        by j alley ·

        In reply to suggestion

        I couldn’t disagree more with this approach.

        If you talk in public about the person you fired after he has gone, then all your team members will be afraid of what you will say about them when they leave or are fired. Here integrity and respect are essential.

        I hope, as an employee, you would be satisfied with:
        1. A meeting in which your manager told you about the need for more resources and advised that he was going to have a check-point meeting with each person individually to answer any questions they may have.
        2. During the check-point were given a review of all the good things you have been doing on the project. You were also advised that if there was any concern about your performance, the process would be first a verbal notice, then if no improvement within an agreed period a written notice with specific deliverables and time frames, and if still not success probably a final chance before firing. Also to talk about the probationary period and the difference between before and after that period. And by the way your manager has absolutely no concerns and is delighted with your performance.

        I would hope you would leave feeling all warm and fuzzy and recognizing that the other person got a fair chance to pull up their socks.

        This stuff is hard. Most managers are lucky enough not to get much practice at this so sometimes it isn’t done as well as it might be. But, it is better to do it before the team notices than after everyone on the team is frustrated and has lost respect for that person.

    • #3070481

      How incompetent??

      by mjd420nova ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      Once had an employee who started out okay and then went down hill. After talking to the person
      making him aware he was being watched. Repeated
      failures and he was given the crap jobs to do,
      couldn’t do that either, finally after two
      encounters, his manager looked closely at his
      expense account and vehicle mileage and found
      cause toterminate him. Couldn’t do it on job
      performance but corporate policy.

    • #3070331

      Due Dilligence

      by newby7718 ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      Hopefully, from legal and ethical standpoints you documented not only the incompetent employees problems and performance, but all your employees during that period of time that you were building a case against the incompetent employee.

      This may be a good time to bring those documents out, and one-by-one counsel your employees and let them know where they stand — as well as the bacic reason the the incompetent employee was terminated.

    • #3060396

      Your employees don’t trust you

      by david.cook ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      Sounds as if you might have a communication problem with your employees. Probaly the biggest problem you can make. Granted I can only assume here based on what you wrote. Firing someone after 3 months sounds fishy, and if you rule your employees like you are the gift to the company, they probaly don’t respect you or trust your motivations.

      The frustrating thing with IT that I thank many managers make is this. IT managers feel they are smarter than the employees. They reality is you should be there to support your employees because they are doing the work and they truely know what’s going on.

      Advise.. quit being a boss and start being a manager and keeping in touch with your employees. I’m not saying be their best friend, but know what their concerns are and reinforce that you are on their side. I get sick and tired of this “I’m totally fearful that I’ll get fired” attitude that follows everyone a company. This is a complete failure of management. You fired a guy after 3 months, sure he could have been a bad employee, but you got the egg on your face and your employees know it.

    • #3069186

      There’s such a thing as _too_ open

      by timbstoke ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      In our department, this problem is completely bypassed by using two strategies – firstly, nobody in IT gets to work their notice period, regardless of the terms on which they leave. Leavers are always immediately escorted from the premises, with pay in lieu of notice. A very short email is then sent to the rest of the team to let them know that the person has left and should no longer be allowed on site – no further details. After this point, the subject is not open for discussion.

      Of course, we operate a very small and very busy team of around 10 people, so this is fairly easy in our environment – it may not be in yours.

    • #3068996


      by fbartolom ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      Whan one fires a resource under his own supervision he is actually reprimanding his own supervision: thus it is not surprising people in that condition are preoccupied…

    • #3072378

      Method of firing

      by muthukumar.g ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      I read your problem and i have some suggestions for people who are going to handle such situations in future. Before doing anything for the team, make sure that everyone in the team understand it properly. A Simple discussion session will do this. Also, if a team members is not good technically or because of any other reason, the information about him should be passed to other members – fine this looks like a politics, but this is required to save your face most of the times. make a list of troubles you faced because of him and before firing him make sure the discussion you are going to have with him, goes to everybody (ofcouse in in-formal way).. i came across such trouble many times. but to be frank, being a project manager, my mind now things everything in politics way.. :))

    • #3072252

      Maybe it’s you

      by jerrym mcse+i / a+ ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      No matter what you say. If your employees have learned over time that you can’t be trusted then nothing you say or do will change that. Incompetance is relative. What may seem to be incompetance to you may translate more into you are consistently NOT CLEAR as to YOUR EXPECTATIONS. Now I don’t know you and this may not be the case. I do know that I have worked for managers that believed they knew better than their employees. They gave directions like a battle field commander only to later berate the team for not performing to his expectations. This was not because the team failed to accomplish the goal, rather, it was directly related to the team being lead to a different set of expectations as to what constitues success.

      I recently left an employer after 2 years who behaved exactly the way I’m describing. Although I liked him, most on the team held fear for him.

      Work on your communications skills and ensure that you convey your expectations in a manner your employees understand. Just because it makes sense to you doesn’t mean anyone else understands you. When someone fails to meet your expectations and you are frustrated trying to explain it, take the time to teach that individual what you expected. You may see it as a waste since you thought you hired someone who knew what they were doing…..but it may be more of an issue in you just aren’t as clear as you think.
      good luck.

    • #3137297


      by justin fielding ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      Maybe this person just needed training and motivation? You can’t just blame the individual, good management skills can turn around the most challenging of staff, maybe your skills are lacking? Your hiring / vetting process is ultimately to blame.

      Just remember your staff are human beings, not robots.

    • #3120419

      A word from a lowly human resource

      by jkameleon ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      Your human resources obviously don’t believe you, and that’s the heart of your problem. It’s a credibility issue, and there is no simple & easy solution for this. Trust is very hard to come by theese days, especially in IT.

    • #3120374

      Reply To: firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      by choppit ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      In my experience, it’s only ever the wasters (and the extremely insecure) that get worried by this. Deep down, most of these people are reassured by knowing that there’s someone higher on your hit list than themselves.

    • #3119054

      Management decisions

      by jacksonian ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members


      In my opinion, if you have the right to fire an employee (being the manager/lead) you are not required to justify your actions to others.

      As far as alleviating their fears in regards to incompetency, maybe its because they have been getting away with doing the bare minumim. Maybe their fears come from the fact that they are “performing” when being observed and slacking when not in view. Just a thought.

      Integrity is important in employees. I feel that when I am going about my duties as a network administrator and a manager of other admins, I go home every day with a sense of accomplishment. I know that I am a major contributor. But maybe some of the fears your team is experiencing comes from a lack of a sense of accomplishment. Again, just a thought.

    • #3131328

      Agree with some thoughts

      by jessica lynn ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      As a manager and an employee I?ve been on both sides of the table. It?s difficult.

      For the employees, a quick and brief email stating:
      1. This is a private matter between the employee and the company.
      2. Please consider how you might feel if you were in this situation and act accordingly.
      3. I am available to talk if this communication or any other raises concerns that you would like to discuss.

      This is no reason what so ever, to elaborate on the point. You are the manager. It?s not fair to discuss an individual situation with staff. The less you indulge the point, the sooner it fades away. I?m assuming you do annual reviews with your staff so they should have a good idea where they stand.

    • #3078765

      Define Incompetent

      by hmosqueda ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      What is your definition of incompetence? If the person was not able to do the job period, then yes, I think they should be fired. If it is just a matter of not being able to keep up w/the quick pace that most companies desire, then i would call that being human. In some cases the person does not wish to work so hard for what they are getting paid. But w/the current economy, they have no choice, so they try to hangon, knowing they will eventually get fired. The other employees may feel the same as the person who was fired, but have more to loose, so force themselves to keep up w/the pace. Which may lead them to believe that their act has been discovered and the new guy was used as a way of warning others. What do you expect from the other employees considering the way most companies treat them. Just because you go along w/the program doesn’t make it fair or mean that you agree w/it. In most cases people have no choice, or they would bail.

    • #3080251

      Fear is the underlying concern, no question!

      by jsamuelson ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      They are afraid it will happen to them too — possibly for the same reason, hence all the questioning about why it happened! Rather than focusing on the downside of that person’s brief tenure as a team member, how about shifting from the blame game and soliciting input from as to the most important criteria i.e. what they want out of the next new hire? What skills are desired versus required? Is there a baseline experience level they feel is needed? Ask them to come up with a list of five questions to ask interviewees and invite existing staff to be part of the whole selection process — including asking those questions to the person on the other side of the table. These are simple team-building exercises and will go far in disaster recovery as well as making a much better choice next time around. Your esteem will go up in their eyes… and it sounds as if you need it? Rebuild that damaged trust before embarking on another hiring/firing fiasco, please. Management should not discuss the terms of how or why a staff person was let go under any circumstances, period. Since that fat cat is irretrievably out of the bag, how about respecting the person who was fired enough to keep the reasons behind it confidential? Wouldn’t you want the same approach for yourself? It’s no big deal (and entirely true) to say that you’re not allowed by state or federal law to reveal the underlying reason but that you are available to address concerns, and reassure everyone that it’s not about to happen to them… kindly make that last point true before saying so, however. Teams know when the BS is hitting the fan, to mix a couple metaphors. Let us know how it goes, but DO take immediate steps to correct what went wrong.

    • #3097816

      Random Observations

      by xearon ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      1) If resources are as scarce in your industry as you indicated, you should have been more discriminating in your hiring process and have avoided “average” an employee.
      2) You should have done more to develop the employee instead of simply followed to boss mentality of “several warnings”.
      3) Your management ability is called into question by the fact that you hire “incompetent people”. Either you truely erred in the interview process or for some reason you are very emotional about this.

    • #3109962

      You didn’t do it right.

      by bwogi ·

      In reply to firing an incompetent team member scared other team members

      Because of the fact that you’ve used the word team, you probably must have an idea as to what it means.

      Team work is not a one way street. Much as you want your staff to win your confidence, you should also endevour to win their confidence because they live for you and you live for them.

      Try involvong them in your decisions (atleast the major ones). This will not mean that they’ll always decide their fate or that of your company but it helps to have them in the know as to the whats, whys n all of the company so that less questions run through their minds.

      Just cut the bossy stuff. It pays, i being an ICT Manager in a public university, , its the experience my friend…

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