“I need to fire an employee and I don’t want to get sued.”
That’s how it began with my client, Cliff. And to be honest, it’s how a lot of my clients come to me. They come with this situation that is very uncomfortable for them. It’s a huge conflict because they typically like their employees, but they’re not producing what they need for their business. And that’s what happened with Cliff.
A lot of you can probably relate to Cliff’s story. I can relate to Cliff’s story.
He hired a friend who was kind of down on his luck. The friend had lost a job, and Cliff needed help in his store. Cliff said, “Great, I’m going to have you come work for me.”
He expected a certain level of loyalty and hard work. He had even loaned this friend-now-employee money, and he had done a lot of different things over the years to help him out.
But he didn’t get the loyalty he was expecting. Instead, what Cliff got was an employee who:
- Talked down to him
- Showed up when he wanted
- Did his work however he wanted
- Started to act almost like he owned the business
Cliff was really in a quandary because he couldn’t figure out what went wrong, and it wasn’t always the obvious. If you’re in that situation, make that first choice right from the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process: forgive yourself.
Here’s what we learned as I worked with Cliff more.
- He had simply hired from a place of sympathy, and sympathy is not a great basis for making an employment decision. It’s kind of you, but you often set your employee up for failure because you haven’t made the hire consistent with the position. You want to make sure those two come together–that they are compatible, just like any other relationship. If they’re not compatible, it’s not going to work out well.
- Cliff felt guilty about his success, especially in light of his friend’s recent problems (which we later learned were self-inflicted).
- Cliff didn’t follow his own policies. How many of us do that? We create all those policies and procedures. We do our employee manuals and then we forget what’s in them.
Again, it’s not always the obvious. If you’re struggling with something like this, I invite you to take advantage of the free 30-minute breakthrough call. In the meantime, keep listening with your third ear for those hurts you can heal.
Prefer to do it yourself?
Nance L. Schick, Esq. is the chief resolution officer for many of her small business clients and a New York City-based conflict resolution consultant for her international clients. She has more than 18 years of experience operating a remote service business that advises other small business owners. She is an employment attorney licensed in NY and certified in mediation, coaching, DISC Personality Assessments, Education Law, and Tax Law. Before law school, she was a human resources supervisor, a minor league hockey agent, and a plaintiff in a sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit. A survivor of abuse and multiple crimes who grew up poor in Kentucky, she loves helping people break through upper limit challenges.