A former Google and Apple exec explains the key to politely firing an employee

For many people, firing someone is the worst part of being a manager. No matter how many times you do it, it is never easy. In her book “Radical Candor: Be A Kick-Arse Boss Without Losing Your Humanity,Kim Scott explores finding the sweet spot in management, somewhere between obnoxiously aggressive and ruinously empathetic. She explains the most diplomatic way to fire an employee
. Following is a transcript of the video.

The most important thing never to do when firing someone is to go in with the mentality that you’re firing them because they suck. The mentality to go into that conversation with — and it’s one of the worst conversations you’ll ever have in your life. It’s really hard. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t wake up with an upset stomach on a day you have to fire somebody.

So, I think the most important thing you can do is to go in with the mentality that this is a great person, this is a great job but this is a terrible job for that person, right? This is a job that sucks for that person. And one thing that I have found really helpful to go into the conversation with a sense of compassion is to think about a job that I’ve sucked at. To think about a job that I’ve hated. And what a relief to was not to be doing that job anymore.

And the second thing that I try to think about before firing somebody is I try to imagine a job where this person would really flourish. And in fact if I can I’ll even make an introduction to that person to help them find a job that is — where they can really be great.

I think those two sort of mental exercises before firing somebody are incredibly helpful. When you’re firing somebody this is not the moment to be giving tons and tons and tons of feedback because that makes the conversation backward looking. You want to get the person and yourself moving forward to a better place.

Produced by Sam Rega.

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