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Terminations Anger Safety Conflict Feedback

I just terminated an employee and she became very upset and hostile. She screamed at me, insulted me, and was out of control. I told her to calm down, but that only incensed her further. I am shaken by what happened here, and I wonder what to do if this happens again.

When people are told to calm down, the most common reaction is to heat up. If a departing employee is yelling, screaming, or out of control, you should calmly and firmly interrupt and state that unless she or she stops immediately, the discussion is over.

For most people, the storm will pass and you can finish the termination process. However, if the employee cannot or will not calm down, you should put your own safety first and walk out and get help from other managers, human resources representative, or security staff.

Another way to look at this type of situation is from the preventive standpoint. It is important to give your employees feedback, guidance and coaching on a frequent basis. In addition, jointly establish goals with your employees, and regularly review their progress along the way. With this approach, the idea is to provide the employees with a clear idea of how they are doing, and an equally clear idea of the implications associated with continued sub-standard performance.

With regular communication, goal setting, feedback, and coaching, employees should perform better and you should have fewer terminations. And if you do have to fire someone, there should be no shock for them and no shocking behavior targeted at you. And by the way, if your company has a human resources department, having one of their representatives with you during the termination session can be very resourceful.

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