It’s Time to Terminate

“They never pick up when I call and frequently skip my meetings.”
“Why is everyone so quiet in my meetings?? They’re intimidated by Terry.”
“It’s never gross misconduct, just constant surliness and finding ways to go around me.”

Lately I’m hearing more and more about bad behavior at work. My clients complain about people who are not just a pain to work with, but are exhausting to manage.  

My advice is always the same. “You know what you need to do. The sooner you see them out the door, the better you and your whole team will feel.” And yet, they hesitate.

“It’s not a good time. We are understaffed as it is. Termination will be expensive. And they still deliver good work!” I’ve heard it all.

I have fired several people in my career. I don’t like doing it either. It hurts. It’s emotionally draining. But it’s always been the right decision when you focus on the right side of the equation. Sure, termination is tough, but:


You probably know someone who should be fired. Here’s the cost of letting them stay:

  • Team members perform at lower levels because they are unhappy.
  • Manager loses credibility for failing to deal with the problem child.
  • New team members learn that it’s OK to push the boss’s buttons and test limits.
  • Team members refuse to speak up or offer solutions for fear of crossing the bully – innovation dies.
  • Absenteeism increases.
  • Peers end up on short term disability due to stress (expensive!!).
  • Good employees leave.
  • Corporate culture takes a turn for the worse. No one believes in the company values anymore.
  • Organization has difficulty attracting new talent based on reputation.
  • The manager quits out of frustration.

“But Jeff! Don’t you believe in change???”

Of course! Everyone can change! But there is always a certain percentage that will choose not to. You know them. They are intractable, entrenched, and crusty. Don’t waste your energy. They will need a serious disruption to change their mindset, and a good firing is just the ticket. 

So, throw some cash at them and get them out the door. The sooner the better. Your team will thank you. And the person you set on a new path just might thank you as well. As a good friend once said, “Termination is the first step towards their next opportunity.”

Thoughtfully yours,
Jeff Skipper