Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Terminations Assertiveness Decision Making Incompetence

I have an employee who deserves to be fired. His work is not very good, his attitude is often negative, and even his honesty is questionable. I have talked to him about the problems and documented his performance, but the problem is that I have never fired anyone and I don't feel good about putting someone out of a job. What can you suggest?

Although there is newfound machismo attached to trumping an employee's marginal performance with the phrase, "You're fired," most managers do not approach the prospect of firing someone with a smile and steely stare.

Today's best managers provide struggling employees with coaching, guidance, and feedback, along with clear information regarding the consequences of continued questionable performance. It sounds like you have taken some of these steps, but your employee has not responded.

When you allow this type of situation to continue, you undermine your own effectiveness as well as that of your department. Perhaps you are overly concerned with being well-liked, or maybe it is your desire to avoid confrontation, but allowing a problem employee to continue is unfair to you, your employees, your company, and even the employee. You have given him every opportunity to succeed, but he has turned them all down.

By allowing a problem employee to keep his job, you are also allowing others to wonder about your managerial skills. Ironically, your reluctance to fire a marginal employee can increase the likelihood that you will be fired.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!