When An Employee Fires You As A Leader

By Anne Warfield, February 10th, 2016

I have fallen in love with watching the show The Profit.  I love how Marcus focuses on three simple things–people, process and product.  In one episode an owner had almost all his employees turnover on him within 5 weeks.  As the owner stood there blabbering about why each person left, Marcus just stopped him and said,“You do realize you were just fired by those employees.  Why doesn’t that bother you?”

It is easy in leadership to see the otherside of the fence when you want to coaching or even fire an employee.  Rarely do we stop to realize that really the only way employees can tell leaders what is wrong is to wait for a company survey or to finally get fed up and leave.

Take Action:

Rethink each time someone has left your team and ask “why did they fire us?”  Follow these thinking steps to understand and then change the situation so it doesn’t happen again.

  1. Look closely at what is the root cause–is it you or the company?
    1. If it is you, look at what is the problem–are you tough to deal with? are you too emotional? do you lack systems?  are you not consistent? are you not dealing with some negative employees and thus the positive employees are deciding they don’t want to work there?
    2. If it is the company, look at- is pay fair compared to the marketplace? Are work conditions safe for employees? do policies allow leaders to individually reward or treat employees the way they want? is there anything unethical going on?
  2. Commit to change.  Let the employees know what has been wrong and how you will change it going forward.  For example,”It has come to my attention that I am asking you to deliver consistent results and yet I am not giving you consistent written directions to follow.  That is not fair and I commit to change it today.  So from now on, when I give out instructions I am going to have one person write them down.  We will make sure they are clear to follow and then we will type them up so we can all follow that process.  Any change that gets made will be communicated to all and will be changed in that document as that will become our guide. My apologies for not doing this earlier as I am committed to helping make it easy for all of us to achieve success consistently.”

Now employees know what the change will be and how they will fit in to it.

Leave a Reply