How you handle that conversation says a lot about you, and possibly, the outcome!
Keep this in mind; a boss demands, a leader explains. Both messages can have the same meaning. For example, the bottom line message can be that if the employees’ behavior remains unacceptable, you will replace him. And, of course, that message must be backed with firm and executable authority and clarity.
HOWEVER, the words you choose and the delivery of those words are the game-changers.
So then, how should the conversation go? Regardless of the many variables of exact words, consider these thoughts before you step into that meeting.
#1 What is your mindset. Do you want to terminate the person, or do you want that person to succeed? The words will change if you start with a powerful yet positive and determined mindset.
#2 Are you clear in your mind that in your role as a leader, it is YOUR responsibility to help your people succeed? Do you recognize that when your employee fails, that is a mark on your record as well? Many confuse being an excellent worker with an outstanding leader. Leaders lead to success.
Don’t worry. I am not suggesting that you will never need to terminate poor performers. That is not realistic. Some will not make it, and it is absolutely your responsibility to make necessary changes. But what have you done to try to help that person succeed?
#3 And last, have you included in your delivery your intent? Does he know that you believe in him, and you desire to see him win in this challenging situation he is facing? Yes, he must know you will take action if he does not choose to make the change, but he must also understand your desire to see him win!
Different words, same message. Or is it?
Should all else fail, and you can’t save the employee, I suggest you take steps sooner than later to remove him. Just ask yourself one last question before you sign the termination paper: were you a boss or a leader?