On Wednesday I mentioned that I’d fired Jack out-of-the-blue rather than put him on a PIP.
He didn’t pick up on my “performance hints”, so he never really knew there was a problem.
Or, at least, he didn’t know how serious the problem was.
I didn’t use any formal warning processes (e.g. formal verbal, written warnings), so I enabled him to continue thinking things were just fine.
I don’t know what might have happened if I’d done even one formal warning.
Maybe it would have gotten his attention, woke him up, and showed him he was in danger.
Maybe that’s all it would have taken for him to have a change of heart, and turn things around.
If you recall my PIP story/podcast, it took a formal warning for me to wake up to reality.
And for me to wholeheartedly decide I would “do whatever it took” to keep the job.
I’m not going to sugar coat it, Jack probably thought I was a jerk afterward.
It was a jerk move, but it was the only move I’d left myself.
Learning to use employee discipline systems might be uncomfortable, but the consequences are worse. Without them, you’ve got nothing left but surprise, fear, and anger.
How you treat one employee gets back to the rest of them, through the grapevine or Glass Door.
Even though you’ve hinted, who on your team might not know they are in danger?
How can you do the kindest possible thing: make it crystal clear they are in danger, and openly discuss next steps?
You might be the boss, but you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.