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Why do Managers find it difficult to fire Poor Performers ?
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Performance and good performance at that, is the reason for existence of employees at a job. Every company worth its salt lets its employees get a fair idea of what is acceptable performance and what is not. That’s the whole idea behind having elaborate performance management as well as coaching programs, as well as reward and recognition schemes. Most companies are quick to laud good performance and rightly so. If superlative performance is left unrewarded, it can become a major eyesore and bone of contention. However, fairness also demands that poor performance should be penalized. While this does happen, the frequency is much less than what it should be.

The reluctance and inability to fire poor performers is a problem that has assumed pandemic proportions in the corporate world. There are quite a few reasons for this. Firing someone or pulling them up for poor performance is an unpleasant task that needs an ability to confront the problem. A lot of managers shy away from this situation as they would like to avoid the unpleasantness and sometimes the pain and the effort it entails. No one likes being ticked off or fired, and it is understandable that the employee who is reprimanded would express displeasure and may also go as far as to get into a fight with the boss. Most often, bosses are not okay with going through the ordeal. They may not gloss over the infraction or performance issue, and may try to give gentle nudges to the employee instead of catching the bull by the horns and calling a spade a spade.

Firing a poor performer needs not only huge dollops of assertiveness, but also the ability to document and pinpoint instances of slippages and failings. It is not enough to be fair, but also be perceived to be fair as any failure to do so might very well invite a lawsuit. It is extremely important for bosses to carefully document instances of poor performance and also bring it to the notice of the employee who has less than satisfactory performance. Fairness demands that the employee should be given some chance to improve on the job, as firing someone is the very last resort. Unfortunately, a lot of managers shrink back from firing poor performers as they have not made the effort to be well prepared to confront the poor performance with proof, which calls for due diligence and discipline in documentation.

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