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Anger Terminations Feedback Exit Interviews Communication

I recently terminated an employee who became belligerent and hostile during a termination session. She screamed at me, yelled in the halls, grabbed her things, and then stormed out. What are some ways to prevent this type of outburst in the future?

Before looking at steps to take during a termination session, look first at steps prior to the termination. When an employee is failing on the job, he or should be given feedback, coaching, and guidance, and this should be carried out as close to the problematic behaviors as possible.

A struggling employee should also be provided with clear and measurable standards and goals, along with a good deal of managerial support to help reach them. If the problems persist, the employee should be formally advised the consequences of continued poor performance, namely disciplinary action up to and including termination. In the event that an employee still falls short of the mark, the employee is clearly aware of the shortfall and potential outcome.

When a termination follows this type of feedback, the element of shock is removed, and that is one of the primary sources of outbursts. During a termination session, it is also important to focus on the employee’s behavior, and not on his or her personality. There should be specific examples of unacceptable performance, and the employee should be given an opportunity to express his or her thoughts. If you truly strive to be fair, there is a fairly good chance of a peaceful separation.

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