Column: It’s time to let go


“I really regret letting that person go.”

Not once, after more than 12 years and thousands of meetings with leaders, have I ever heard this phrase.

Not once. Sometimes people just have to go.

I know what you’re thinking – “They’ll get better if I give them one more chance.”

They won’t.

It’s time to let them go.

But, in case you’re not sure, here’s a simple exercise to help remove any doubts.

List the top 7-8 qualities (intelligence, work ethic, etc.) you expect out of the role. Next, select a grade for the minimum performance on a scale of 1-10 (1 = terrible and 10 = mastered). Finally, grade your current employee.

If you’re honest, the decision will be crystal clear.

Now, comes what I believe is one of the most difficult jobs any leader has to face – removing an individual from your company.

Once you’ve made the emotional decision, you should follow a disciplined process.

First, make certain that you have the right resources to replace their daily responsibilities.

Next, consider the following question – What is the perfect job for this individual? Your job as a leader is to help your staff grow their careers and just because your company isn’t right for them, that doesn’t mean you can’t help guide them to a role that’s better.

Deliver the message face to face in a meeting that should last no more than 15 minutes. Clearly and briefly communicate this information:

  • You are no longer employed here and that isn’t up for negotiation.
  • This is your severance package.
  • Here’s what I’ll do in order to help you land in another positon. This obviously will only apply to individuals whom leave on somewhat good terms.

Finally, deliver a concise message to your team that indicates why you made the change and what it means for the company.


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