All right, so you're concerned about firing somebody. That can be tough. Usually when you want to get rid of somebody, and it sound terrible, but sometimes it can be the right answer. There are three different reasons why. One, their performance was bad. They're not doing the right thing. Two, there's been some kind of incident or accident or event where you have to let them go. Or three, you're downsizing. Time to let people go. You're downsizing. I got it.

I'm going to cover all three in a second, but the thing to remember is there are actually three things that are the same no matter what. The first one is timing. The timing is, whenever you're going to let somebody go, make sure you do it at the end of the day, and that may sound cliché, but it's cliché for a reason. You don't want someone to be fired in the morning. People see it. People ask questions. They stay. It just becomes nasty and a mess for everybody.

If there's gonna be an emotional outbreak, it wouldn't have happened during the day. Do it the old 4:30, 5:00 rule or whatever's the end of their shift. That's the right way of doing it. It allows them, hopefully, to go home later, maybe not see their coworkers, and they can save some face too in case they feel bad about the firing.

The second thing is, empathy. Just because it is business for you doesn't mean it isn't personal for them. The person who you're letting go, it is personal for them. You should be human and have empathy. You want to have reasons to why you're doing what you're doing, obviously, but the same time, make sure you're saying things like, "I know this is tough. I'm sorry. This is hard. I get this is a problem for you." Say phrases and words that let them know you actually care. I hope you do care. You should care.

And if you do care, don't think the right answer is, "Well I'm a professional manager, so I should be Mr. Spock or Data. I should be that." Star Trekky reference, I know. So I should be that person. No. You should still be human and friendly. It matters. As nice as you can make it. And don't get me wrong. No matter what warm and fuzzy words you say, someone being fired's not gonna be happy. But you can make it less bad, so you should. Be human.

Next, future. Don't just go, "Goodbye. Good luck." That's the wrong answer. You want to talk to them about their future. You want to say things like, "Well, with what you've learned here, perhaps you can do X, Y, and Z." Or, "The last person who left here, they went on to do so and so." Or, "If you need a reference, I'm happy to give you one," assuming you are obviously, right? Assuming you are happy to give a reference. Say that. Do things. Tell them about their future. Give them some hope. Make it feel better.

Now, specifically. Performance management. So, someone's doing poorly and you've, I hope, over time, documented and tried to help them make them better in their job. And over time you realize whether it's a month, or three months, or a year, whatever's the appropriate period in your world, the person can't do the job well enough. They're not up to speed. You've got to let them go. Well the first thing to do is, when you sit them down, again, at 4:30, 5:00, end of the day, even the weekend's even better, then they don't have to come back to work the next day, even better, but at least at 5:00. You have the conversation, normal chatter back and forth, and explain the logical reasons why, and how you're disappointed it didn't work.

So logic and emotion together. Give them a reason why. They didn't make ... you know, they didn't make the cut, but on top of it, be human. Say, "I'm sorry it didn't work. I know we tried. I know you tried hard. Things didn't work around. I got it." Talk that way and explain from point A to point B to point C, and because of that, we have to let you go. "I'm sorry." Yes, you can say, "I'm sorry. Yes, I feel bad. I know it's difficult." Use whatever words you want to say...

Remember those three things. That you have to have a future for them, timing matters, empathy is key. You keep those three things in mind, it'll be a whole lot easier to let somebody go.