When you have to terminate someone, do you think it is better to ease into the topic with the affected employee or just spit it out at the start?
By all means, drag it out. The best approach is to make it sound as though you are about to break bad news, then back off to let hope rise. Just when the person might be starting to think everything is all right, veer back toward Termination Town. Really skilled terminators can keep this cycle going for seven or eight loops before finally doing the deed. What’s the point in being a supervisor if you can’t have a little fun?
— Evil Skippy
P.S. Unless you are a camel, don’t spit anything. Just saying.
Be humane and get to the point. Greet the person, ask him or her to sit down and say, “Due to your attendance/performance/thievery/smell, your employment with this company will end today/tomorrow/a week from Wednesday.” Then discuss any procedural matters that need to be covered and answer the soon-to-be-ex employee’s questions.
If this is a termination for cause as opposed to a reduction in force (or as us old people say, “laid off”), whoever you are terminating should not be surprised at the news if you have been doing your job right. “Doing your job right” means you have been setting expectations all along and giving regular feedback so there are no surprises. If the employee is surprised at the news, either you did not do your job or the employee is really, really slow on the uptake. One way to set clear expectations on an ongoing basis is to use the “I.T.S.” method – and here is a link to my earlier post about that.
Loyal readers – do you agree or disagree? Small talk first and then the news? Or do away with the small talk?