It was a difficult week. I had to fire someone. This was the culmination of 2 years of structured feedback progressing to systemic feedback and leading to the disciplinary process and 2 specific action plans. I want to thank Manager Tools for all I have been able to learn and put into practice.

This is a professional union employee that I like very much. I used the knowledge gained through these podcasts and the MT training conference to make the behavioral expectations as crystal clear as possible. When we gathered for the final disciplinary meeting the employee knew he had violated the terms of our agreement. He offered to resign in lieu of termination. That is a plus for him and our organization. The union rep knew he had violated the terms of his action plan and sat silent through the hearing. My boss and the HR rep said that was the first time in 25 years this union rep had not exploded in cries of unfair labor practices. I could hardly get through the meeting and the union rep came in the next morning to check on how I was doing. When does that ever happen???

Putting someone out of work is not easy and it never should be. This result was not the preferred one, I would have much preferred that the employee would have remediated his behavior and performed as expected. I have manager tools to thank for a system that empowered me to meet the needs of the agency and let this employee show us whether he could or could not do the job.

People say that you cannot fire a union employee for anything that is not immoral or illegal. That is not true. It takes a great deal of documentation, time and due diligence. But it can be done. I'm sorry it had to be done, but very grateful for the confidence that we did whatever we could to coach the behaviors that were necessary.


jhack's picture

Firing an employee may be the hardest act a manager can take. Doing it professionally is a testament to your dedication.


John Hack

430jan's picture

John, What kind words. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

TNoxtort's picture

Great job taking the time to do everything you needed to do. I've learned in life that in difficult situations, it pays to research and work hard to really do the right thing. And then you can look back and say you not only did your best (which I think can be a cop-out), but you did the best anyone could have done.

On my other post, you mentioned I had been through the ringer. Two years ago, with this same project, but with a different boss, I was in the same situation. I documented everything. I followed directions. I, at times, gave up my desire for certain aspects of the project to be completed. I was courteous and treated everyone well. Suddenly one day my boss was transferred to another department, and I was boss-less for 6 months until I got my current boss. But I know that throughout that period, when it was difficult, I could feel that I had really worked hard to try to find the right things to do and execute. 

I need to remember that now too. As you mentioned, my boss can be unprofessional in how she talks about people (she uses really bad names to refer to others or diminsh their work, but speaks positive about her own people like me) and it is tempting to talk to her like that -- which I won't.

430jan's picture

Thanks Artsmith222. I think I will remember the affirmation from you and John through the next week. I do believe I did my best, and the best anyone could have done in that circumstance.

bug_girl's picture

It's not easy, and amount of time and effort it takes to get to the firing point is usually huge.

What someone told me then I pass onto you:

If you were the kind of person that found it easy to fire someone, and didn't care--you would not be the kind of person that should be a manager.

Remember that he made those choices, even knowing the consequences.  

And, what John said :)

I predict that you will suddenly find that things pick up around your work, as if you've cut the line of an anchor that was slowing everyone down.  I hope that's the case for you too! 


hrjen's picture
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I'd "Like" your post in a heartbeat.  Not because I like that someone was terminated, but because I believe so heartily in the process that you walked through and your decisive action. 

I will add (slightly) to what Bug_Girl wrote.  As an HR Manager, I regularly oversee and/or carry out terminations that occur despite the best efforts of the manager.  I do find some easy - sometimes terminating an employee is essentially a defensive action on behalf of other productive, performing employees.  It sends the message that we value the remaining employees and will not allow a poor performing co-worker to diminish their hard work.  In these cases,  I feel privileged that I can carry out the termination  with dignity and respect to all involved.  When these terminations are done I feel like I have done my job well.

Good work.


430jan's picture

Bug_Girl and HRJEN,

It is a small world of people that know the challenges of leadership. Even smaller yet that have the energy at the end of the day to read and respond to the forums. Discussing it hear and supporting each other is a fantastic gift of modern technology and I thank you for your encouragement.