“If they are surprised they are getting fired, you suck as a leader.”
This was the line uttered by a very successful entrepreneur I met recently. I was humbled by many parts of our conversation since his company was exactly 22 times larger than IBEX and he had started it in the same year.
What was good to hear was that he held many of the same beliefs as we do when it comes to people – one of them being that you have to address underperformance head on. Problems with performance should never be bottled up inside you or saved up for a coaching session or performance review. They should be shared as soon as possible – while the behaviour is fresh. People should also be given lots of opportunities to improve and plenty of support in the process. This loop of feedback, support, and time to improve then needs to continue until either the issue is resolved, the person resigns, or you let them go. This way, if someone does need to be let go it should be no surprise to them. They should know the specifics and they should know that they have had plenty of opportunities to improve. If this is the case, you can do what needs doing with a clear conscience.
If you need some help with the conversations, here is an article I wrote with some specifics on communication while dealing with performance issues:
Photo Credit: Yanalya / Freepik