Grow a Spine and Get Rid of Your Dead Weight Employees

Build Your Team - By: Kevin Weir
Business Coaching Article | Ten Principles of Leadership

The call came in at 5:00 PM just as I was ready to leave the office.  I recognized the caller I.D. as one of my clients who had been having major problems with a key employee.  

“Kevin, I can’t take this anymore, she threw another major fit, screamed that she was quitting, and stormed out of the building.  What do I do?  I can’t lose her because she is 35% of my income.”  Of course I told her that this was the greatest piece of news that she could ever get.  I told her to pack up her personal effects, and put them out in the hall.  When she comes in tomorrow for work (which I knew she would do), just tell her that since she quit yesterday, you accepted her “verbal” resignation.  

For almost two months, I had been coaching this individual to get rid of her cancerous employee, no matter how much revenue went through her.  In that time I had seen the team walk on egg shells, and in general, display an almost total hatred for their work environment.  Finally with this outburst, she had the courage to do what I asked her to do.  Over the next few days, every team member privately came to her and expressed thanks and appreciation for getting rid of this malcontent.  The atmosphere in the business totally turned around, and the lost income was made up in about 6 months with the addition of a new team member who fit well into the team.

Let’s be honest with each other.  There are a lot of you out there holding on to employees that you should have fired long ago.  Why do you keep them?  Maybe they have to much proprietary information to just lose them?  Perhaps they hold the key to keeping a profitable customer that you just can’t lose?

Whatever the reason, there is NO EXCUSE to keep them on your team while they poison your work environment, force good employees to leave, and create havoc with your customer base.  Why are you avoiding this?  

Perhaps you hate confrontation and are scared of their reaction.  I feel your pain, as I have had to fire employees on a number of occasions.  It is, by far, the most unpleasant task I have ever done as a manager and business owner.  However, I knew the consequences of not doing the hard task were even more discord, resignations, and lost customers.

Maybe you need your coach to help you grow a spine so you can do this.  There is nothing wrong with going outside your company to ask for help so you can be confident when you make the hard decision.  All of us need assistance when the going gets tough.  Just remember, your fears should never stop you from doing what you know is the right thing to do.