Throughout my career I have seen supervisors and manager who knew how to intimidate and embarrass someone. They prided themselves on being able to get in someone’s face and make threats.
But, in my entire career, when it came to terminating someone’s employment, I did it with a level head and in a matter-of-fact way. I tell people that it sounds strange, but I have fired hundreds of people in my career and I always tried to do it without emotion and making sure the person kept their pride intact and they walked out of the company with their head high. Or, to put it another way, they weren’t hanging their head because of the way I treated them.
You are taking their livelihood from them; you don’t need to take anything else. I learned this early in my career when an employer was so gracious as to hire me as their HR Director for over 2,000 people. When I first got there, supervisors would yell and scream at someone and embarrass the heck out of them as they escorted them off the property.
“You’re done! You’re fired! You idiot!!”
The result was that we were more likely to get sued. The only way the employee could keep his status at the local bar with all his friends and in the community with his relations was to tell everyone that he had an attorney and they had a case against us. The problem—they often did have a good case, a very good case.
So, I started to train supervisors how to conduct a successful termination. I did it for a couple of selfish reasons. Number one: We saw a direct reduction in the number of lawsuit we were facing as we did more and more head up discharges. And, trust me, the suits don’t have to be just wrongful discharge. They came in the form of workers’ compensation, discrimination, wage and hour and any other of a number of areas a lawyer could find a gap in our approach.
But, the main reason I wanted people walking out with their head up and having respect for me and themselves, was that I felt they were then less likely to come back with their head down and a gun in hand.
Also see this article on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/post/edit/381-words-might-help-save-your-life-bob-marsenich