In a recent post, I encouraged you to “rip the band-aid off” when someone has to leave your company. When someone is the Wrong Person (doesn’t fit your Core Values and Culture), Wrong Seat (in a job they don’t GWC®Get It, Want It, Capacity to Do It and we can’t fix it), or both, the reality is that they have to go.

As a leader, you’re there for the greater good of your business. Sometimes, helping someone out the door is what the greater good requires.

I need to ask for a little blind faith here, too. Releasing someone is, often, also for the greater good of the person who needs to leave. Being stuck in a company where you don’t fit, or in a job at which you can’t excel, is a terrible way to live. It’s your duty as a leader to make that conversation safe and to do everything you reasonably can do to help the person who doesn’t fit make a good transition.

The question is, how do you do it?

There are three things you need to do well in advance of any specific conversation.

  • Get your head in a good place. Remember that there are very few truly bad people in the world. If you have one, you should fire them immediately and have security walk them to the door. But while bad people are rare, bad fits happen all the time. When it’s a bad fit, it’s just an issue that needs to be resolved. (It’s also an issue that you created by putting this person in their seat. So, let’s get over the tough-guy stuff and stop being angry at the person who needs to go. If you need to be angry at someone, look in the mirror.)
  • Create an environment in which it’s safe to have conversations about fit and possible departure. People who don’t fit almost always know it but are afraid to talk about it for fear that they’ll get fired on the spot and lose their income. Get rid of that fear by making sure your people know you care about their well-being. This includes caring enough to be honest with them and to help anyone who needs to go, exit with their dignity intact.
  • Provide feedback along the way. It should never come as a surprise to someone that they are falling below the bar on either Core Values or job performance. The EOS® 5-5-5 conversation (quarterly feedback on values, GWC and Rocks) is a great way to do this.

If you do those things, the actual conversation is relatively easy. You need to be prepared with some data—at least three specific examples of performance deficits, feedback from other employees about Core Values violations, etc.

Then tee the conversation up like this: “This doesn’t seem to be going very well. I’m not happy and, from what I can tell, I don’t think you’re happy, and the company isn’t getting what it needs. Living with this isn’t an option. Our only choices are to fix it or end it. What do you think we should do?”

Try it. You may find that those 36 hours of pain aren’t actually all that painful.