Time to terminate mid level manager-

This person has been employed at our organization for almost a year and has consistently missed deadlines, "forgotten" important tasks, been ineffective in meeting benchmarks and lies on a regular basis (essentially at every meeting, when confronted his response is "I don't know what you want to hear". My frustration is further enhanced because of her previous experience and MBA which doesn't seem to add any benefit to the current position (assumptions were made that basic skills in management would be carried out IE reporting based on facts and data as opposed to emotion).

I have been working closely with this person for several months coaching, integrating the feedback model and one on ones. I follow the steps to the letter and document each conversation and agreed upon outcome (I also use the recommendations on how to communicate to her DISC profile). These conversations have become increasingly more direct and serious (I am a High D so I am pretty direct all of the time) and have included terminology like "terminated", "Fired" and "consistently below expectations".  I was going to terminate the employee/employer relationship at the 6 month probationary review but was halted by my CEO (because he thought I would be too busy to hire and train a new manager). I have since gotten approval to proceed  and will be reviewing my notes with our HR Attorney next week.

 I am concerned about the impact on the team (the time she didn't spend on her deliverable has been spent cultivating relationships with the team) and since I am a High D, I thought of termination early ; what do you think? Am I moving too quickly? Can I do more to help this person be successful?

Thanks in advance for  your insight


Peter.westley's picture
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You may be doing the right thing in terminating and I suspect your hesitation comes from a concern that you have not communicated effectively with her.

You mention several time's that you're a high D, do you know what she is? You also said you used her DISC profile to communicate with her? What did you do differently? How did you change your behaviour? Have you actually tested to see if the message is getting through? I see you have used words like "fired" and "termination" but unless you test for understanding, these words may still not be getting through.

This may not solve the problem of her lack of delivery but it might put her behaviour in better perspective. i.e. It seems she just does not "get" that you are about to fire her.

My hunch is that you're a very high D and pretty much low S and she's probably the opposite (High S and very low D). That's not an excuse for not delivering but I suspect that your concern for not having communicated with her effectively is what's causing you some hesitation in following through on the termination. And the difference in your respective behavioural profiles is limiting your ability to communicate effectively with each other.

If you were confident that she has understood the situation, would it make it easier to follow through?

-- Peter

DISC: 2564

Cherie's picture

Thanks for your insight. I expect you are correct in suggesting I feel that she may not "understand" the seriousness of the situation. I will taks a step or two back and try another approach.


and btw, yes I am a high D and a high C where she is polar opposite- high S low D

twinsen's picture
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Cherie - it sounds like you still have some hope for this person at the end of your post but reading most of the beginning, I thought you were trying to find a ceremonious way to get the person out the door and work through the HR process.  Do you?

Jhack helped me a lot but I wasn't firing a manager.  The How to Fire Someone Podcast is really helpful.  Are you at the point of systemic feedback? During one O3, I asked is everything okay at home, and if it is, I keep giving corrective feedback but it's like you're not hearing on and so forth - if you don't do x y or z now, your job is in jeopardy. 

That was a real pivotal turning point.  From then on, all the person's coaching was are you doing x y or z of your core job function.  This person had a problem with late work deliverables too so I basically had him divide his work into a spreadsheet - everything he had on the go - the deadlines and then what his delivery date was.  We did that for 3 months until it was clear he had an excuse for every single one but the bar was set very clear, if you're 2 weeks late now, how do we gradually get to zero - he didn't make it and that's when the trigger was pulled.  It gave a lot more clarity to what he had to do to get out of the doghouse.  Versus if you said, "I just want you to be good" - otherwise you get the "What is it do you want from me?", the crying, the "I'm really trying my best.  Life is tough." stuff.

I wouldn't worry about your manager's directs catching non-performing disease.  Performance won't be top but once the roadblock is removed, they will get back to performing well.  God knows they're probably quietly hanging on now, gossiping on when the weak manager will go; it's like those fish who know the one fish is ill (yes I'm not a high S).

Anyway, my two cents.




Cherie's picture

Thanks Laurence,

I took a couple more weeks to continue O3s but it is clear this person has no interest in changing. Time to cut my losses and move on


Cherie's picture

Thanks Laurence,

I took a couple more weeks to continue O3s but it is clear this person has no interest in changing. Time to cut my losses and move on