Pulling the trigger to let people go should never feel good. If we can lightly let people go, then we need to think a little about our humanity. Conversely, if we cannot let people go, we are in another ditch.
General Powell is very quotable in the area of leadership. and one that often comes to mind for me is: “Constantly prune.”
No company has all A players. Naturally, you have some B players. I want to talk about the C players.
C players should find another place to work. We should admit that we have failed to make this person successful and let then go with sorrow. The hiring manager has failed as much as the new hire. They could not lead them to success. We and they should prune them off the team as they hold everyone else back.
People have fired me in my past, and I do not look back on those as the worst times. They were good for me though painful. I needed to find another place to put my skills to use, and I became a better man for the experience. You should do the same for the people on your team. Do not let them be a C player for you. Be bold and let them go. Before you do, read Yes, the Problem is Us.
Most times the whole culture gets better and starts to align around the right people when you prune.
Naturally, under the China labor law, it has gotten more financially painful to let workers go. However, they pull your team down. Get advice, think clearly, and prune. Every organization needs it.
I recruit carefully and develop faithfully, and so do not often have a C player. Nevertheless, it does happen, and I have to be strong enough to admit my mistake, and let them go. It is best for both of us.
Pulling the Trigger Too Slow
I have never fired someone too quick. I have more than once waited too long. We also have also seen this in other Western leaders here in China. We are unsure and delay the decision. From all my experience, I have learned one thing.
If you are waiting on a guy to turn the corner and become something else, then you should have fired him 6 months or more ago.
If these people change marginally and put on a good show once, you are still missing out on the excellent guy that you have not yet hired to replace him.
Too many companies sign candidates up for 6 months of probation when they start. This is bad for both parties. Companies do this for self protection, but really are making lazy leaders. Work closely with the new hire and know them well those first three month and then pull the trigger if not the right hire. Three months is definitely enough for both parties. Why do you pay a bad hire for another 3 months of work because you have no discipline to head him off to a place more suitable to him or her? If it is a good hire, why do you leave the candidate hanging for 3 months? Get the job done. Commit or cut bait.
If you plan to pull the trigger, hire a recruiter with depth in finding trustworthy talent® and pull the trigger to start the process of finding a better person to help you know that who you have is far from ideal. Otherwise, you may get the same problem you just left.