How to Completely Bungle a Firing

With some exceptions, nobody enjoys firing an employee and nobody enjoys being fired. Usually both parties want it to be over as quickly as possible, but savvier leaders understand this is an opportunity to use the interaction as a wake-up call of sorts. Not that the employee really needs to listen or that the boss needs to help them out anymore, but sometimes people sincerely don't know what they're doing wrong -- or that they were doing anything wrong at all.

For those folks, Manpower, the Milwaukee-headquartered workforce solutions and services provider, has cooked up a top-10 list that goes to 11 of the common mistakes made when passing the proverbial pink slip from one end of the desk to the other.

One of the most important ones here, I think, contradicts the whole "if you don't have anything nice to say" line of thinking. This is the time to be nice about being cruel. Not telling someone the real reason they're being let go "doesn't do you or the departing employee any favors if you either sugarcoat or over-exaggerate the reasons… either approach can kill your case in court." Yeah, don't forget that just because the employee has been let go doesn't mean you've necessarily heard the last of them.

Another important one is assuring you're honoring your company's own policies and employment contracts. It's understandable your working life might be a living heck because of this individual, but do everything by the book -- and do it calmly, not emotionally -- and things will be all the much better. Plus, it only takes a few minutes, because, well, who really wants to stick around longer than they need to in a conversation like this? But still, be nice about it, or as nice as one can be in such a situation.

There are many, many other good points Manpower makes. Read the full list here.

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.

Contact Us