If you want to grow your business, you have to grow your team. We are growing and I would like to say I always hire the right team members. But I haven’t and needed to fire someone. That never feels good and I regretted some of the things I did and said in those situations. So to grow your business without losing your humanity, here are a few thoughts.
I was just talking to a friend and business owner who is rapidly growing his business. He needed to part with a business partner who just wasn’t delivering and wasn’t all in. The conversation got uncomfortable. It became clear that the working relationship had to end. Even though it was the right thing to do and all the team benefited from the parting, it was still emotionally taxing to do.
We have so much hope that our team is the right team and is going to work through things together. As the leader you are “all in” committed to them, so to end that relationship hurts, feels like a failure, leaves us wondering if we did our best or did the right thing.
Here is a thought that has helped me and others through these times and helped us do the hard thing but in a way that doesn’t betray our own values as a human.
Grow your business one relationship at a time.
We can end an employment or business relationship without throwing aside the personal relationship. It doesn’t mean we are going to keep meeting with them daily or weekly to help them progress. It does mean if we see them again we will genuinely be happy to see them and celebrate the great things they are accomplishing now. Here are some questions you might ask yourself first.
Do you care enough about them to know they are not succeeding here and help them move on?
How much am I hurting the rest of the team by not making space for the right team member?
Can I let myself feel sorrow for the lost investment, emotional and financial, and still worry for their future and their family?
What can I do to help them land in good place where they can succeed?
Am I ensuring not to demoralize or degrade them so they can make that transition well?
You believed in them when you hired them and you can believe in them as they exit.
We can avoid demonizing them by magnifying their faults to others around us. Instead, honor the good things that they are, the value they did add, and be grateful they were willing to give us try.
Though we sometimes say our work team is like our family… it isn’t. Employment wasn’t meant to last forever. We make a choice to come together to create some defined value and then move on, retire, sell, or exit in some way. The exit will come for every single team member, so let’s use this moment to solidify our values through our actions. Besides everyone who touches our business has a chance to become and advocate or an adversary. Let’s build advocates wherever we can.
Finally, the way we lead during partings with team members will define in the hearts and minds of your remaining team members the true values of the company more than any words painted on your walls or rhetoric in your annual address. If you want loyalty, show it at the most unlikely times. Let’s say you want caring, be caring when others are not. If you want a great culture fit for every team member, fire people who don’t fit the culture even if they are delivering results. Live the values when it is tough and watch your team and your business grow…without losing your humanity. If you don’t have your values established and a way to ensure you are living them, we can help through our Elite Ignition program.