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How to Diplomatically Fire Someone

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It goes by many names: pink slipped, being let go, downsizing, streamlining, laid off, the old heave ho, walking the plank, etc. You get the idea. But no matter what you call it, firing someone is never an exactly fun or pleasant experience -- and if you got into business just to crush other people's dreams, maybe it's time to evaluate your priorities.

That said, sometimes things just don't work out. Job descriptions change and evolve. Cutbacks happen. People get bad attitudes. It happens.

And when it happens, sometimes you have no alternative but to cut someone loose. The main thing to keep in mind, according to Monster Thinking, is respect and the element of surprise. You want to maximize the former and minimize, or, hopefully, eliminate the latter.

"As a small business owner, you have an opportunity to have an intimate conversation with an employee who may not be working out as you both had hoped," Human Resources Solutions President Roberta Matuson told Monster. "In most cases, they have a pretty good indication that it's not the right fit as well."

The main thing is, as the person doing the eventual firing, is you telegraph what's coming with plenty of warning, which gives the employee ample opportunity and time to hopefully correct the behavior. Matuson says you can come right out and say something like, “If things don’t get better, then I won’t have any choice but to terminate our relationship’."

But again, bear in mind you want to act respectfully and adhere to the golden rule. For more on this, read Monster Thinking's post.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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