Who wants to be viewed as the bad guy? Well, if you’re running a small business, sometimes being the bad guy is a good thing. Unfortunately, business can’t all be peaches and cream. When you are building your empire, you’ll have to make tough decisions sometimes. One of those tough decisions is knowing when it is time to fire an employee – and being able to pull the trigger.
Let’s be honest, most of us are not like Donald Trump, with the words, “you’re fired!” rolling off our tongues on a weekly basis. Terminations are uncomfortable, leading us to procrastinate about making a decision, sometimes stressing out about it for weeks. A good friend of mine once said, “If you’re still thinking about it, you have waited too long.” So what’s the holdup? Maybe you’re hoping that things will eventually change. But deep down inside, you know this is a decision that you should have made a long time ago.
Time is the first problem. It’s easier to fire someone who’s relatively new to your company. In those cases, there’s no history between you and the employee. It gets harder when you have a working relationship that stretches back for years. Too often, an employee who should be terminated is kept on because the employer is delaying or avoiding the termination altogether as a result of their long work history. An employee who has worked for your small business for years may even feel like family. Even though the firing is justified, the time invested in the relationship makes it very difficult.
In addition to avoiding the termination of an employee because you like them, the decision is also difficult when you begin thinking about the effect it will have on their lifestyle. Letting someone go in today’s arid job market is a heavy burden to bear. And concern for their well-being and the well-being of their family can easily cause you to lose focus when it comes to running and growing your business.
On the other hand, keeping your focus sharp and making the tough decisions virtually guarantees that, at least from time to time, you’ll be viewed as the bad guy. If you have the guts to terminate an employee you may be viewed as the enemy. There may be many who will dislike you for the changes that you will implement. But this, my friend, is what you signed up for. It’s not easy, but if a problem employee is part of your organization, the deadly effects of their negativity will soon be a drag to the employees around them and the success of your organization as a whole. You are only as strong as your weakest link.
Business owners beware: those who start with you may not finish with you. Because you decided to step out and go into business for yourself, you need to be able to navigate every obstacle that comes your way. It’s time to cut the umbilical cord; you’re on your own out there. You’ve got to do what’s right to keep your organization on track and flourishing. As a business owner, you will be forced to make tough decisions. Remember, if it were easy, everyone would be in business. Always keep your mind open to change. Don’t let your employees or your emotions dictate to you, you need to dictate the company’s path to your employees. No one ever said that running a business was easy, but hey, that’s why you get paid the big bucks!