Mindful Firing - A Leader's Perspective

If you have been a manager, director, or executive for any length of time you've probably let someone go. If you haven't you will.

Most of us agonize over these decisions and the difficult conversations that follow. They have a big impact on individuals and families, with possibly long lasting effect.

But sometimes you have to. Sometimes letting someone go is the best option. Sometimes it's what's best for everyone. I say that as someone who has been on both sides of the table (firer and firee). I'm glad now (many years later) that I was fired. It changed the course of my life for the better.

So here you are. You've tried everything and it's come to this.

Can letting someone go be a mindful act? Can you reside in the present moment? And would it make a difference?

Everything I've described above is really about NOT being present.

Worry (which boils down to fear, mainly) doesn't help. It certainly won't help you see clearly what's best, and it doesn't help you deal with a situation in the best way possible.

Being present without being overwhelmed by emotion is precisely what this type of decision making needs.

When you actually let someone go, though, listening and interacting with them has limits. The least mindful thing you could do in that situation is to give someone the impression that a decision is not final when it absolutely is.

I'm going to spend a few posts on this subject, from the decision making through the process itself, and think about what it means as a Mindful Leader to be involved in terminating an employee.

It is an important, if a bit sad, function of the leader to make and execute these kind of difficult decisions. It's worth thinking about and preparing for.

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