The Firing Squad Leader: How to be a Successful “Axe Man”

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Cutting an employee lose can be hard for both parties involved. Of course, the employee is going to be devastated, but most employers are going to be “torn up” over the idea of firing someone.

Firing an employee can be extremely stressful for anyone. All too often they end up wondering how to approach the employee. They worry about what will happen if the employee gets upset, or angry. They wonder what they should do if the employee starts crying.

Well, there is some good news if you are about to fire someone … we have four tips that should help you successfully be the dreaded “Axe Man”.

Be Quick and Direct

Most employees already have a sense of “impending doom” if they are going to be fired. Most are aware that they have been slipping when it comes to their goals and/or quotas. They also know if they are helping, or hurting, the company. So, when it comes to letting them go, fire them quickly.

Do not go on and on about how they have been great. Do not talk to them about their future opportunities. Simply let them know that the company has decided to move in a different direction and that their services are no longer needed.

Do Not Read from a Script

We all know when someone is reading from a script. If you have ever called customer service, you have no doubt wasted several minutes while someone asked you scripted questions. Most of the time, those questions did not help get you any closer to a resolution. The same principle applies when firing someone. Do not stick to a script. It will most likely only enrage the employee being fired.

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Be Human

While it is best to cut ties with the employee as fast as possible, you still should be human. Robots are incapable of emotions (at least at this time). Humans are built on emotions. If someone starts telling you their troubles, listen to them. You do not have to support them, but you should listen. Listening has been proven to help others feel better, even if no solution is provided afterward.

Avoid Legal Battles

Of course, someone being fired may have questions. If they do, you should have some documentation to back up why you are letting them go. If you are firing an employee over age, race, religious belief or other legal “battle points”, then you are asking for some future legal repercussions.

So, as the designated “Axe Man”, you should be better equipped to take the next step. It is up to you to be quick and direct. If you listened to the above advice, firing an employee should not be as gut-wrenching as you first thought.