Level 3 Leadership – Maintaining Teams

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Level 3 – Creating Teams

Use the right technology

  • Make sure everyone is working together with the right software
  • Make logging in simple for everyone
    • Use one password like a master password or password manager
    • Use one account for everything instead of multiple accounts for each thing
  • Let the workers choose their own technology upgrades
    • When managers make upgrades without input, the technology isn’t always used but still costs money to implement
  • prevent IT disasters
    • Avoid laptop theft by using MyLaptopGPS or LoJack for Laptops
    • Use cloud storage and backup to avoid data loss from hard drive failures
    • Be aware of safe computer use and teach your subordinates
      • Install antivirus software on all of the organization’s computers to avoid a virus going throughout a network
    • Stop in-house technological sabotage
      • Passwords really do matter
      • Separate the roles and responsibilities of IT to avoid one person having all the power
      • Have the IT department actively monitor for logic bombs

Motivate your team to success

  • When bringing new staff onto the team, don’t drop too much on them
    • Many of them will become discouraged from the natural barriers to success
    • Each person should be valued and invested into during the training process
      • After training them extensively, pay them to quit to avoid bringing disloyal people on board
  • Always clarify what you want
    • Give them specific goals
    • Write out each of the goals on paper as a 250 word paragraph
      • Set an appropriate quality of the result and timing for delivery
    • Read and re-read each goal to make sure you both fully understand
    • Let them know how and when you’ll let them know how you’ll follow up with them
  • Great managers give incentives before using punishments
    • No matter how a manager leads, actions have to always have consequences for it to feel effective or be learned from
      • They’re allowed to learn their own lessons and are rewarded for achievements
      • Managers will look past the action into that person’s motivations and emotions
    • You can get what you want with force, but you’ll get better results by being kind, passionate, supportive and grateful
      • Treat others the way you’d like to be treated if you were in their subordinate position
      • Good leaders believe that leadership is earned, not given
    • If you do need to deliver a reprimand, forget about the event after the punishment has been delivered
  • Everyone is motivated by different things, even when they have the same goals
    • Money is always an effective incentive, especially when it’s measured against peers’ income, but it can’t be the only incentive
      • They need to be balanced between achievement and challenge, where they feel they’ve succeeded but see more opportunities to succeed
      • They are most motivated when their boss is both working harder than they are and cares about their success
      • A good subordinate will never feel paid enough to deal with bad managers
    • A few major things can motivate workers depending on their personality, and some of them are complete opposites to each other
      • Working conditions
        • The work itself
        • Social recognition for completing tasks
        • The social experience of making detailed shared plans of action
        • Exclusive control or responsibility of a project or task
        • A defined structure and organization for how to do things
        • A lack of structure to give them freedom to explore tasks their own way
        • Permission to fail while trying to succeed
        • Mixing pleasure and fun with business
        • Non-cash benefits
        • Free time to think and explore other projects
      • Short-term goals
        • Completion of the project
        • A list of clear and tangible outcomes for a project
      • Long-term opportunities
        • Opportunities for advancement or promotion
        • Opportunities to learn and grow
          • Fill the organization’s library with multiple copies of business and self-help books, then encourage them to take whatever they want
      • Purpose for their work
        • A meaningful way that the task will improve someone’s life
        • Opportunities for creative expression or spontaneity
    • There are several clear-cut demotivators that will always discourage a worker
      • Stifling policies or needless bureaucracy
      • Over-involved supervision
      • Bad relationships with the supervisor or peers
      • Unsafe or uncomfortable working environment
      • Salary or benefits feel inadequate
      • Little to no social status from the work
      • Little to no job security
      • Unclear direction about where the project is going
      • Very little confidence in personal ability
    • Find out what they want by asking directly, since everyone has different tastes and they don’t always say them
      • If you do ask for their thoughts, follow up on those ideas or you might be hated for listening without acting
    • Contrary to popular opinion, team involvement and great work are not really connected
      • If someone does a task well and receives recognition, they will have no problem being on a conflicted team
      • To be successful, team members don’t necessarily need more access to a larger team and more resources
      • New teams often do worse than old teams because the people haven’t formed into a cohesive unit yet
  • There is a coaching aspect to management
    • The business term “human resources” is inadequate to describe the practice of management, since people have individual lives and personalities
      • Learn the difference between development needs that people need coaching in versus major unchangeable flaws
      • Only give directions on tasks, not on the person to be different on something they cannot change
    • Good managers understand that their value comes from their team
      • Managers are given all of the work and it is their duty and honor to give it to the subordinates
      • A good manager’s relationship with the subordinates absolutely must be build on trust and honesty
      • The manager is a servant to the subordinates, and their actions should make that obvious
    • Advise the team as the project moves forward with the technical skills that brought you into management
      • Give orders as recommendations or as a shared need, since overbearing orders will demotivate subordinates
    • Most subordinates will become quietly disconnected to their managers if they don’t feel the manager is coaching well enough
      • The strategy and values are communicated unclearly or the priorities are conflicted
      • The senior team is ineffective at what they’re supposed to do
      • The leader’s style is too top-down or too relaxed
      • Leaders don’t inspire peers to communicate with each other
      • Managers don’t have great leadership or management skills
      • There is little to no communication between the manager and the subordinates

Constantly improve the team’s positive culture

  • Stay positive, happy, confident and energetic
    • People working under positive and confident people are more happy
      • Happy people are more productive and make happier customers
    • All of the components of success are necessary to be someone others can follow
      • Everything around us is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, and a great manager comfortably adapts to those changes
    • There are easy ways to appear fearless
      • Make decisions with a decisive attitude
      • Understand how to manage conflicts and negotiate
      • Take full responsibility for what happens
      • Behave as if what you’re experiencing isn’t new
  • Stay emotionally available constantly to slowly win over others’ trust
    • A leader has to inspire thought to have any reputation with subordinates
      • A new leader will fail, and it’s their responsibility to accept that failure to learn from it and move on
    • Look at a working environment as a team of people
      • A small group should be a team, not an organization or a structured system
      • The group will be a community more than a machine
      • A larger organization is an ecosystem, not a battleground
    • Show your human side and show them that everyone is in a shared win/lose situation
      • This is more difficult than it sounds, and it requires being personally successful, charming and happy
      • When appropriate, it’s best to fully express many emotions to your team, especially anger and joy
        • Positive feelings like joy and happiness should always go towards the person and not just the action
          • It can be difficult to share happiness openly, but it always pays off
        • Negative feelings like anger need to be targeting an action and never a person
          • Anger creates focus on the source of the anger
          • Anger generates confidence from the rush of adrenaline
          • Any anxiety or fear needs to be channeled into that anger
          • Don’t let any of the negative feelings linger for long
      • People have feelings and messy characteristics, and managers need to identify with them
      • You need to be available to hear their input
        • Make a digital suggestion box where they can anonymously send you messages about ideas
        • One unconventional approach is to not have an office and use a common area instead
    • At the same exact time, you should never lead with your emotions
      • Instinct, gut feelings and emotions all have their place, but leading with emotions will set off analytical subordinates
      • Do what is best for yourself and the organization, since one person can sabotage all other members of the group
      • Living a life of principle will naturally work against this approach
  • Give consistent advice and constant recognition
    • People need to be recognized to feel valued
      • Subordinates will perform better when they know somebody actually cares what they do
      • It gives an inspiring challenge to everyone if the right people are recognized
      • Workers naturally sense when they’re valued or when they’re disposable
        • Younger workers need a role model to aspire towards and more opportunities to grow and advance
        • Older workers demand respect for their skills and job security enough to retire with dignity
      • When people feel valued, they are more inclined to share the organization’s vision
    • Some praise is more effective than others
      • Only deliver genuine praise, since people know when they’re being patronized
        • Don’t use formalized recognition programs, since they are rarely genuine and feel patronizing
      • To inspire achievement don’t praise the accomplishments, praise the effort put into it
        • Try to catch them doing something right when they don’t think you’re watching
      • Surprise them to keep things interesting
        • Deliver a random praise for performance
        • Give unexpected gifts
        • The recognition will cause more impact when each gift is tailored to the person receiving it
        • Cash gifts always work, but they are not the only way to give rewards
        • Try celebrating instead of a reward, which is essentially recognition but more fun
          • This is NOT dinner with their superiors, since that’s mandatory personal time taken away
      • When delivering fixed incentives directly tied to performance (such as sales commissions), avoid anything that favors underachievement
        • Giving inadequate praise to higher achievers will create team dysfunction
        • Foster healthy competition by giving non-cash incentives that are fun and lightweight
          • Something that people really want will make them sabotage each other
          • Not everyone or every organization will respond to competition with enthusiasm
      • In general, give praise in public and criticism in private
      • Never mix constructive feedback into praise, that can be saved for later
      • Create a culture of worker appreciation
        • Inspire them to thank each other
        • Give incentives for them that catch others doing well
    • Deliver praise as frequently as possible and intentionally set aside time for it
      1. Tell them up front that you are going to let them know how they are doing
      2. Praise them immediately, not later on
      3. Tell them what they did right, being specific is more effective
      4. Tell them how good you feel about what they did right, and how it helps the organization and the other people who work there
      5. Stop for a moment of silence to let them “feel” how they did
      6. Encourage them to do more of the same
      7. Shake hands in a way that makes it clear that you support their success in the organization
    • Deliver criticism by warning them beforehand that you’re going to let them know how they are doing in no uncertain terms
      • Give the first half of the reprimand as a clear warning
        • Correct them immediately
        • Tell them what they did wrong, and be as specific as possible
        • Tell them how you feel about what did wrong, without any mistaking how you feel
        • Stop for a few seconds of uncomfortable silence to let them know how you feel
      • The second half of the reprimand should encourage them to do better
        • Shake hands with them in a way that lets them know you are honestly on their side
        • Reaffirm that you think well of them even though you don’t think well of their performance in that specific situation
        • Remember that when the reprimand is over, it’s over, and never bring it up again if they improve
    • Tailor each performance review to the individual person
      • Standardized performance reviews with graded scales often don’t show strengths and weaknesses as well as written or spoken language
        • Create a good performance evaluation program
        • Set clear benchmarks up front
        • Be specific about expectations
        • Make the expectations personal, such as self-improvement or giving growth metrics for personal development
          • Give a culture interview where you see how they have changed and fill it with fun or abstract questions
        • Schedule frequent meetings to make annual meetings a cap of planned discussions
          • Pick the right times and places that are lowest stress for them
      • Make the meeting count
        • Start with the good news
        • As much as possible, only make objective judgments
          • Track individual performance improvements based on their prior results
        • End the meeting by looking forward
          • Foster opportunities for them to face their fears on their own
            • Overcoming hardship is the greatest way to improve
          • Don’t focus on intentions or hopes, only on methods or results and accept their alternative views on them
            • Methods and results can both often be seen as immovable rules, but this is rarely ever the case for both
    • Though competition among members can be good, too much will destroy relationships
      • Competition by its very nature will create distrust and insecurity
      • Never show a worker’s performance compared to others, only to their past self
  • Help them improve their career
    • Provide career development resources
    • Share personal network connections
    • Give hard-to-deliver feedback if their behavior is stifling their growth
      • Spend more time in one-on-one meetings to allow them to talk out their challenges
    • Give them the opportunity to fail and have a learning experience for it
  • Help them enjoy their personal life by ensuring they’re spending enough time for it
    • Model this behavior before giving input about it
    • Make sure they’re not working late or on weekends
    • Consider helping them using your personal connections if they are truly valuable to the organization

Give directions clearly and quickly

  • As a manager, you need to get to the point when instructing
    • Start with what the person needs to do, and then give explanations about it
    • Point at things to remove any uncertainty about what you’re talking about
    • Don’t debate for any longer than you have to, just give orders to clarify the boundaries
  • Remember what you told them previously
    • Many bad managers give conflicting instructions and forget that the worker was trying to do both
    • Make it a priority to invalidate your previous commands
  • Have them repeat the task if you have any doubts that they heard
    • Many times the person is distracted while you’re speaking to them, so they’ll mishear a portion of the command
    • Though it may seem redundant, this is necessary to ensure both people see the same thing

Managing crisis is a major part of management

  • Most people don’t handle crisis very well
    • The crisis can come in the form of a conflict, an external problem, a subordinate’s failure, your failure, another department’s failure or simply something nobody could have predicted
  • Try to create a culture that can weather problems well
    • Encourage open discussion and disagreement to allow issues to be seen by the whole group when one person sees it
      • Welcome any conflicts that come, since they become dysfunction when not dealt with
      • Invite constructive criticism to hear what people really thinkain
      • When managing conflicts, be ready to give orders instead of simply debate
    • Train everyone for perfection
      • Have them practice tasks, then have everyone else criticize them
      • Don’t just grade what they know, but also how they perform
    • Constantly review the behaviors you’re rewarding
      • Pay attention to whether you’re showing favoritism or have a bias towards someone
    • Treat everyone with a professional dignity
      • If this means letting someone go gives severance pay, it’s worth the cost
    • Be involved in the community
      • Participate in as many activities and causes you can when things are going well
      • Have your own communication channels functioning well and communicating the organization’s message to everyone
      • Get direct customer feedback instead of simply having the workers disagree over whether an idea is good
    • Cultivate a culture of innovation
  • Crisis can’t be fully avoided, however
    • Assume the problem is worse than it appears
      • Even if you’re over-reacting, it’s safer to cover the unseen risks than let a small unresolved problem become a bigger one later again
    • Assume that there are no secrets and that everyone will hear about the problem
      • People are social, and they like to talk about bad news more than anything else
      • You become part of the problem in the public’s eye by trying to hide it
      • Also assume that the results of everyone seeing this is that you will be portrayed in the worst possible light
        • Since most of society looks at authority figures negatively and you’re an authority figure, the bias is stacked against you from the start
    • Assume that you are guaranteed to have to make changes to people and processes
      • The issue will happen again if you don’t take action to add or remove elements to the system
      • Sometimes the problem is a repeat from a past problem, and it might be that you made the wrong call
        • If you made the wrong call, find anyone you’ve accidentally wronged and try to make amends
      • When making changes, offer incentives instead of ultimatums
    • You will survive this if you are motivated to, and you and the group will get stronger for it

Run meetings like a science

  • A meeting uses everyone’s time, so add up everyone’s hourly wage together to figure out how much the meeting will cost
    • Only hold meetings that are absolutely necessary for one of the following reasons
      • Sharing information to a group where everyone can understand
      • Get information from a group about ideas, thoughts or expectations
      • Answer any questions anyone may have
      • Get the group involved in the decisions being made
      • Brainstorming ideas or solving problems
      • Networking among everyone at the meeting
      • Selling an idea, product or service
      • Showing or giving support for others
    • Many meetings are periodically used for keeping track of everyone’s status
      • A daily status check-in that lasts about 5-10 minutes, usually with only a few people
      • Weekly discussions for 40-80 minutes that talk about short-term obstacles, usually with the entire team
      • Monthly strategic meetings take even more time and talk about big-picture matters, will usually involve executives and have long discussions
      • Quarterly reviews will connect big-picture goals with the day-to-day decisions, usually off-site and from a dynamic and holistic perspective
    • If a group meeting can be cut down to 15 minutes, then use an alternative communication method
      • Use an email brief, letter, memo, text or any other written communication for anything that doesn’t have to be in a meeting
      • There are many web applications to streamline or modernize meetings like Jell, Solid and Stormboard
  • Prepare thoroughly for the meeting
    1. Define the specific purpose of the meeting
    2. Determine who needs to attend and why
      • Make sure everyone knows the purpose of the meeting before they go to it
    3. Create the structure of the meeting with its purpose in mind
      • Use Robert’s Rules if necessary to maintain pacing and enforce communication
      • If it’s informal, decide and enforce how the meeting will stay focused
    4. Set the location and time of the meeting to match the desired results
      • Morning meetings aren’t as effective for people who have late-night lifestyles
      • Afternoon meetings should provide lunch or be after lunch time
      • Evening meetings are typically unproductive because everyone wants to leave
      • The location should match the setting the meeting is calling for
      • Set the time at an odd time, like 5 minutes after the hour, to account for late-comers
      • Try a meeting standing up to prevent needless distraction
    5. Create an agenda that is displayed for everyone before the meeting starts
      • Send out the agenda and materials at least 24 hours beforehand to give the members time to read the materials
        • Clarify to everyone that they are supposed to read the materials before going to the meeting
        • Clarify everyone’s responsibilities during the meeting
          • One specific person should direct the meeting
          • Have someone take notes during the meeting who understands the meeting’s purpose
        • Only have up to 3 agenda items
        • Use the Rule of Five to only discuss with each member 2 current tasks, 2 future tasks and 1 important task that is somehow stuck or not happening
      • Make a schedule that acommodates others
        • Give extra time to explain and extra time for discussion
        • Give 5-10 minutes at the beginning to allow others to refresh their memory on the materials you’ve given
        • Specify the ground rules for the meeting about what is and isn’t permissible to discuss
      • The most effective hour-long meetings don’t use conventional presentations
        • Information meetings are guided by a 6-page typed evidence-based narrative
        • Successful meetings asking for any input don’t use presentations at all and provide all the information beforehand
          • An effective non-presentation meeting with a shared vision can be over in as little as 20-30 minutes
    6. Confirm that everyone is going or not going to the meeting, and have backup plans when people can’t make it
  • Keep the meeting on-track
    • Bring snacks or food to give energy and focus the team’s thinking
    • Start on time, and don’t stop the meeting to explain for anyone who arrives late
      • Keep to the schedule for the meeting
    • Only discuss the topics that are on the agenda
      • Schedule any other thoughts for a different meeting by creating a list with all of them on it
    • Meetings should be run openly
      • Be vulnerable and emotionally present during the meeting
        • Find similarities between yourself and them and share mutual difficulties
      • Dysfunction in a team will often stop open dialogue or make dominant personalities overrun the meeting
      • Use creativity tricks to foster healthy dialogue about potential options
    • Clarify the next actions that need to be taken
      • If there needs to be an agreement in the group, count a vote ranked for each of the possible options
      • Specify deadline dates, times or expectations for the tasks
      • Openly talk about the risks connected to the tasks
      • Be clear about who is doing what actions
  • Followup the meeting
    • Any notes should be distributed to everyone
    • Keep track of anything that was promised during the meeting
    • If the meeting seems unnecessary, take it off the calendar or change its format
  • As an alternate idea for creating new ideas, try the Stepladder Technique
    1. Give the task or problem to all the members
      • Ask them to think of a good solution to the problem
      • Give them plenty of time to make their own opinions on a good answer
    2. Create a core group of 2 members and have them discuss the problem
    3. Add a third member to the core group
      • That third member shares their ideas before hearing the thoughts of the other 2 members
      • After all 3 have shared their ideas, discuss the options together
    4. Repeat Step 3 with each new member until all members have been involved
    5. Reach a final decision after everyone has been brought in and presented their ideas

Take some extra precautions when managing a remote workforce

  • Keep communication more frequently to compensate for not physically seeing the person
    • Connect with your virtual workforce more often
      • A daily or semi-daily meeting is usually necessary, especially in larger teams
    • Plan your connections with them ahead of time to make up for spontaneous meetings that would have come in person
      • Stay flexible, since everyone has their own schedules and will often have other things to work around
    • Instill a culture of trust to ensure people are holding themselves personally accountable
  • Drive performance on data instead of feelings or instinct, since it’s impossible to get a gist from a video chat
    • Use your top performers to coach and lead other workers
  • Find ways to make it more personal by looking for opportunities for personal interactions
    • Honor their birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, etc. and make it fun
  • Meet in person routinely and set aside part of the budget for it
    • This builds connections and bonds that distance can’t build

Correct subordinates when it’s called for

  • Great leaders have to make hard decisions
  • Try to stay out of subordinate disagreements
    • Don’t listen to them when they want you to mediate a problem
      • It wastes everyone’s time, especially yours
      • It creates divisiveness among the members from the appearance of lobbying
      • It fosters a political culture that fights for your favor
    • If you do have to get involved, abide by a few rules
      1. Information is free, and anyone can talk about anyone and anything
      2. The involved people must try to resolve the situation with a win-win answer
      3. If an agreement can’t be reached, the problem can then be brought to the manager
        • It needs to be presented as a shared narrative with the possible resolutions
        • Unresolved trade-offs need to be clarified
      4. If the manager gives a resolution that one of them doesn’t like, that person will sort it out without the manager
      5. Only after it’s still unresolved, they can take it to the manager
      6. If anyone doesn’t want to agree on the situation, then the manager can take forceful action
  • Firing has risks to it
    • Firing and rehiring is often much more resource-intensive than giving a new motivation or cracking the whip
      • It costs more directly
        • There is an extra cost to advertising, recruitment and training new hires
        • Legal risks can come from firing the wrong way
        • Financial performance is universally weaker
      • It has indirect costs
        • Deadlines are missed and workflow is interrupted
        • The reputation of the team is hurt
        • Customer service is decreased
        • Less knowledge is shared among the group
      • It’s destructive to team morale
        • There are more absences from stress
        • Other team members become unsettled and start leaving
        • Relationships are damaged
  • There are different ways each person will loses their dedication to the group
    • Burned out from working too much
      • Works frantically until exhaustion and then vents about it
      • Does unrewarding tasks and cynically avoids doing the job
      • Feels too much stress and too much responsibility and loses all motivation to keep going
    • Decreased professionalism at work
      • Doesn’t respect management any more
      • Customer service is no longer a priority
      • Behaving as if they’ve already accomplished enough to not have to work anymore
      • Gossips about anyone not in the room with them
      • Takes all of the credit for good things and deflects everything bad to anyone else
    • Increased hostility in the work environment
      • No longer doing favors like staying later or coming early
      • Saying “that’s not my job” about anything outside of their job description
      • Treats their experience like it’s a physical commodity and insults less experienced people with potentially more skills, performance or achievement
      • Uses peer pressure to make harder workers feel bad
    • Disengagement from the work
      • Calling in consistently, not coming to work or taking days off
      • No longer caring about the quality of the work or fulfilling deadlines
      • General sense of apathy about the work
    • If someone isn’t performing it might be an attitude problem or an isolated incident, but several people underperforming should be a red flag about your management
  • A bad worker comes in a few forms
    • Incompetent and ineffective
      • Often very happy as workers, but very low performers
      • Disorganized and passive to taking any action
      • Resistant to any changes
      • The answers should drive them to work more effectively
        • Use steady support
        • Make plans for their improvement
        • Give extra training
        • Provide constant supervision by tracking their performance
        • Demand accountability from them
        • Train them more and give them more mentoring opportunities
    • Lazy and uninterested
      • Unmotivated to do any tasks or fulfill any deadlines
      • More reserved and quieter
      • No longer interested in advancing their career
      • Bad at keeping track of time spent on projects
      • Wastes time on the internet or phone
      • Consistently gone from work
      • The answers should inspire them
        • Find their hidden resentments
        • Give very clear expectations
        • Do unscheduled checks on them
        • Increase their rewards for succeeding or give them a portion of the organization’s income
        • Give them special assignments to expand their scope of responsibility
    • Selfishly overworking
      • Refuses to hand projects off to others
      • Unaware of personal limitations
      • Undermines the confidence of other team members
      • The answers should make them want to be a team player
        • Force them to hand off projects
        • Reward their ability to work in a team
        • Give them more time to relax and encourage paid time off
    • Socially engages more than works
      • Distracting and loud for the rest of the team
      • Unfocused and uninterested in the work
      • Immature and unprofessional to the point of causing social backlash
      • The answers will lead to them being more focused
        • Consistently redirect them back to the project
        • Clarify expectations about behavior
        • Take advantage of their interpersonal energy and skills
    • Socially disrespects everyone
      • Bullies or intimidates subordinates and peers
      • Doesn’t obey rules and has problems with authority
      • Manipulates and sabotages relationships
      • The answers should provide clear boundaries
        • Enforce a safe environment
        • Take complaints about them seriously
        • Carefully document negative behaviors and try to find the likely motivations
        • Trust your instincts about what they say and do
  • Before firing, try to motivate them more
    • It’s an exponentially higher cost to keep a very bad worker than to find a new one
    • Sometimes they simply need a pay raise that’s overdue, since most people don’t feel comfortable asking for it
  • There are many good reasons to fire someone without looking into it further
    • Sometimes the role and the individual can’t naturally match
    • Maliciousness towards anyone else, especially subordinates
    • A worker who has gotten old enough that they really need to retire
    • Doesn’t improve no matter how many times they are corrected or spoken to
    • Constantly disrespects and subverts the workplace culture

Learn how to fire workers correctly

  • Sometimes you will have to lay off workers
    • Delaying this action only makes it harder, since your relationship with the workers will often improve over time
    • Cut deeply to allow more time for future growth and healing, since one major layoff is easier to handle than 2-3 smaller ones
  • Do a few things to make firing go smoothly
    • Plan ahead to make sure that their transition out will be easily taken care of
    • Be certain and intentional, since firing should be the last action of a long process
    • Be unapologetic and own up to it, they doesn’t care how much it hurts you and they should know why they’re getting fired
      • Say “I’m sorry, but I have to let you go” without any further apology or explanation
      • If they turns it into an argument, don’t turn it into a back-and-forth conflict
      • Don’t ask if there’s anything you can do for them, since it’s obviously to give them the job back
        • However, if they were laid off from a lack of work, do everything you can to get them work elsewhere
    • Have a witness during the conversation to ensure that they don’t make false claims about what you said
      • This may seem patronizing, but it’s necessary
      • On the other hand, don’t do something condescending that makes them seem like a criminal like escorting them to the door
  • After you’ve fired them, learn from your mistakes
    • You will make hiring mistakes, own up to them and move on
    • Increase the effectiveness of your interviewing process
      • Use personality tests more and pull from your network more frequently for leads
      • Look for their motivations when hiring, not their skills
      • Use job descriptions that have more performance requirements and less required skills
      • Focus on better quality candidates instead of a larger quantity of them
    • Look at the culture of your organization more closely
      • Find ways to improve it for the future candidates
    • Make sure your relationship with future candidates is better than with the terminated worker
      • Make hiring managers formally accountable for the quality of the people they hired
    • Avoid paying a salary premium to make up for an unhappy work culture

If someone quits, they’re not leaving an organization, they’re leaving its management

  • They will leave if they think they aren’t valued or aren’t being listened to
    • Others are given preferential treatment
      • Work was taken from them and given it to other workers
      • Peers receive opportunities that they aren’t allowed to attain
      • Someone else took the credit for their accomplishments or ideas
    • Someone will change jobs if they don’t see opportunities for growth or professional development
      • The job isn’t what they expected
      • There is a mismatch between the job and the person
      • They don’t feel they received enough feedback or coaching
      • There’s little to no recognition for their work
      • They don’t feel they’re paid enough or don’t have adequate benefits
    • People leave when they feel their values no longer coincide with their leaders’ values
      • Management is exercising morally questionable or unprofessional practices
      • They’ve lost trust or confidence in senior leaders
      • The organization is confusing and uninspiring, or is badly managed
      • They’re stressed from too much work or a work-life imbalance
  • Have an exit interview to find out why they are leaving and what would inspire them to stay
  • After they choose to leave, it is difficult to keep them in the long-term
    • If you give them a counter-offer that they take, they might easily disrupt the rest of the team
    • It’s best to gracefully let them go and maintain a good relationship, which opens up the possibility of a future recruitment someday
Next: Level 4 Leadership – Creating Leaders