You will always hear HR folks say that people are never bad. They just don’t fit the role. I believe this to be true for most cases and obviously for the purpose of this article we are not referring to cases of breach of integrity or security or such other causes.
There could be various reasons for the misfit – cultural misalignment, individual reaching his level of competence while the organization needs someone to help evolve it to the next level, mis-match of skills needed to make a material difference on the ground etc. When organizations finally part ways with senior leaders because things didn’t work out for a variety of reasons as given above, somehow things become awkward, from both sides. It is not so that the individual never contributed something meaningful in the company, it is not so that the individual didn’t have some great ideas or wasn’t a nice person. They may have goofed up a few times, may have made some honest mistakes or taken wrong judgement calls but that doesn’t wipe out the other good things they did from the past. Then why does the relationship become like a dating relationship has gone sour?
The individual in question also goes through a lot of emotions ranging from denial to being a victim to asking questions on self-esteem. In our world, a forced separation from a job becomes a permanent mark on a person’s career and sometimes his own confidence to look for other jobs is shaken. Sometimes the mindset of the interviewer on the other side is limited and not open to see the big picture.
Therefore, I have always wondered what can leaders do to avoid falling in this trap of awkwardness? Is there a certain responsibility leaders have towards this employee and his future? Most organizations demonstrate responsibility by a generous separation package including paid time off to look for something in the market. This is of course greatly appreciated but I am wondering if there is more. It is not that I have not let go of people. I have many times over. But for all the reasons cited above, I have also taken responsibility for those decisions. Here are a few tips from my experience on how not to make such situations awkward (most of the times).
If a leader follows these steps, then they have demonstrated leadership authentically and for humanity.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)