In my executive coaching practice, one of the most frequent questions I encounter is, “Tim, do you think I should fire ________?” It is typically an employee who is either not performing (a cheerleader), has a bad attitude (a terrorist), or both (deadwood).
My best response to that question is to propose the following three (3) questions:
1.) If you were assembling an all-star team for your company made of your best employees, would this employee make the team?
If the answer is a resounding “no”, as it usually is, he or she is now at risk of losing their current job status.
2.) If this employee came to you today with a letter of resignation, would you accept it, or would you try to talk them out of leaving?
Again, if the answer is a quick “yes” to the first part of the question, it is clearly time to dismiss this particular employee. I don’t know a single small business owner that wouldn’t fight to keep a top performer.
3.) If the position were now open and this same individual came back to ask for the job, would you re-hire them?
This might be my favorite of the three questions. I can’t remember ever getting a “yes” to this question. if you wouldn’t re-hire them, why would you keep them now?
The next time you are considering the fate of an employee, ask yourself these three simple questions and your answers will lead you to the right course of action. Trust me.