top of page
  • Writer's pictureBurk Moreland

If You Had To Fire One Person

If you had to choose one person in your organization to fire right now, who would it be?

The answer to that question is very telling to me as I work with my client’s organization. How easily do they come up with the name? Is there more than one that comes to mind? What position does that person hold?

I ask, not because I want to fire anyone, but because I want to see which team members are not performing as well as others. Your job as a manager is to either move that person up the performance list from the bottom or remove them from the list entirely. Move ‘em up or move ‘em out…

The first choice is always to move them up. The cost of recruiting and training a new person coupled with lost knowledge and the cost of the ‘unknown’ is astronomical. You have invested thousands and thousands of dollars into this person. Unless they are doing something immoral, illegal, or unethical, making them better is always priority number one.

But how do I do that?

First off, set expectations. Get very clear on what actions you would like the person to take to improve. You must separate any emotion from this line of thinking. It isn’t just ‘I want them to get better…’ It has to be ‘I want them to improve their sales by making 100 more phone calls per day.’ Or ‘I want them to focus on their duties more by eliminating distractions during the day such as their personal phone.’ These actions can be monitored as to whether they are happening or not. This is critical when you are setting new expectations for someone under your charge. Most failures come from a poor job in setting specific enough expectations. As some people might say, “Make it idiot proof.” They must almost purposely try not to do it. It becomes about effort versus knowledge. It is our job as the manager to give them the knowledge. It is their job to put forth the effort.

The second part of this is consistency. Too often we tell someone what to do and then just leave them with that. Most of your people are not at your level yet, that is why you are the manager. Don’t expect them to perform at your level on day one. We have to inspect their performance on a regular basis. What checkpoints can you put into place so that they can’t get too far off the path? There is no reality, only everyone’s perception of it. If they believe they are doing what you asked, they will continue to do it. If you aren’t inspecting often enough, neither of you will be very happy when you find out they have been doing it wrong. At that point, you as the manager will be the one that has the majority of the pain involved in fixing it.

The final part is to close the loop. Feedback on inspection must be given regardless of performance. Most of us are very good at commenting when something isn’t done correctly, but telling them they are on the right track is just as important. Giving people honest feedback allows them to continue to focus and perform without worry of mistakes. It can remove anxiety about one of the top reasons people leave a job: I didn’t know what was expected of me. Scheduling your feedback at regular intervals will help accomplish consistency as well. If you really want someone to improve and you really don’t want to fire them, more feedback is better. Take time out of your schedule to push them to improve and understand what you expect versus using that time on recruiting, interviewing, and hiring a replacement. Employee surveys show that people are actually more satisfied when they are pushed and growing versus staying stagnant. What are you doing to make that happen?

Now that you got that team member off of the bottom of the list, you have a new problem. Someone else had to move down for them to move up. The job of a manager is to constantly develop their people to be better every day. What lengths will you go to in order to make sure your team keeps moving up the list? Where will you invest the time and money to ensure your success?

For help with any of these questions, please contact us at Rainmaker Builders today. Pushing you and your team to new heights is what we do.

Email: or Call: (832) 356-4585

8 views0 comments
bottom of page