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Monica Wofford, CSP, is a professional speaker and CEO of Contagious Companies, a training and consulting firm that develops better leaders and trains managers how to become better leaders.

The difference between frustration and forward moving progress is often just one difficult decision.

It’s one thing to just know it’s time for an employee to go, where you just have that feeling at the core of your being. It’s quite another to take action on that knowing. The difference? One decision. In this Monday Moment, we look at two models to use in making that decision and how to validate it was the right leadership choice for you and right thing for you to do.

Leaders Can Make Better Decisions Using the Pros and Cons

Perhaps one of the most simplistic and often overlooked decision making models, a written list of pros and cons will help a leader articulate data and visually see the heft of that data on either side. As an additional benefit, when faced with the decision of terminating an employee, leaders may be questioned by other team members, such as their boss or Human Resource representatives. Making a list that clearly outlines what all of the positive outcomes or attributes are and what all the downsides or difficulties are for that employee to stay can help you state your case. This method works best when it’s written down instead of just in your head, so I’ve provided a Pro and Con template below.

Leaders Can Make Better Decisions Using Cost Calculations

A true cost calculation of letting an employee go can be hard to measure. There’s the salary and benefits you’ll save, to be sure, but what about the cost of recruiting or hiring someone new? What about the costs of potential downtime when others have to pick up the work from the person you let go and let’s say the position stays open for a while, overworking those who took on the extra work? The costs calculation decision making model enables you to look at the hard costs, soft costs, and even opportunity costs, which in this case would be whatever else you could do with the time spent counseling or coaching this person, as well as what else you could use their salary for if you let them go, among other possibilities. It’s the soft costs and opportunity costs that we often miss and that might dictate a different decision. To help you in using this type of model for your decision, a Cost Calculation template is also provided via the link below.

But Why Did You Make THAT Decision?

Leadership of others, even those you wish to fire, begins with being you and leading you first. In a situation as delicate as letting an employee go, it pays to know exactly why you feel termination is in order and on what your decision is based. Enter the Five Whys. A popular model for getting to the root of a problem, the Five Whys Model invites you to dig deeper…five times. Why do you want to let them go? And why is that? Because? For what reason? And just why is that? Asking yourself why five times will lead you to the real reason for your decision and prevent making a decision based on knee jerk emotions or a potentially less than well thought out opinion.

Just like everything in leadership, your decisions are contagious. Making the right decision can still have ripple effects and keep you in or out of court when it comes to employee termination. However not knowing what decision to make or how to make one will keep a leader up at night. Rest easy and practice these methods. Download your templates from the link in this post and you’ll have three tangible tools at your fingertips and hopefully a great boost in the confidence you have in even the tough decisions a leader must make.

I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great week, an even better Monday, and of course, stay contagious!


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