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The Growth Blog focuses on lessons in leadership that inspire growth in all forms.

Suddenly Fire Someone

There are some employees who make it past the first two weeks, then have a difficult time being good enough. The very first thought I have is that the end of the day, or the end of the week, most people want to go home feeling good about themselves. Very few people enjoy doing their job in a way which displeases co-workers or supervisors. So if an employee does the job incorrectly, it is probably due to lack of training, lack of communication, or even having too many bosses - also known as role corruption. They actually want to be competent.

Now comes the tricky part. Correcting the poor job performance. I know you think everyone should be treated equally, and to a degree that is true. No matter how much you can't relate to certain employees, all employees deserve eye contact, a smile, and a kind tone of voice.

"An employee should never be surprised that they have been fired."

Motivation can be different for each person. Some people just need money, others need confidence, and still others need the room to make decisions. As a boss you must discover each employee's motivator. Correction is about what was done wrong and never about their basic humanity.

I grew up in a family business. I listened to my parents discuss employees issues at the dinner table. When I first got hired by my father when I was 10, I started at 25 cents per hour.  Became Vice President at age 29. My Dad was still active in the business on daily basis until he died at age 94.

One thing Dad always stressed was, "An employee should never be surprised that they have been fired."

That means it is up to me to work patiently with an employee until they become competent at their job. I must have an environment where there are no stupid questions and when mistakes are reported to me I work with the employee to find the best fix for their mistake.

I believe that my employees should never fear me. I have watched young people with no experience blossom into some amazing assets to my business.

The skills I must have are: patience, clear communication, motivation, cheerful attitude, compassion, and training.

Sometimes, the employee is a dud. Oh, the reasons are all over the map. Sometimes nothing is going to work and you are forced to fire an employee. At that point, they are not surprised. You can be guilt free. Your other employees may even thank you.


Ellen Fee

Ellen Fee along with her brother, Joe Fee, own Fee Brothers. In business since 1864. They are the fourth generation. Ellen grew up, literally upstairs, and learned the job starting at age 10. She went to Nazareth College of Rochester to become an Art teacher. Upon graduation she returned to Fee Brothers "until she found a teaching job." 38 years later Ellen is still there. During her off time you can find Ellen camping and working her Sudokus. You can read more about Fee Brothers at