Business is hard. Working with people is hard. Managing the people that run the business… well, that can be the hardest of them all (when done right!).

Being a boss is the best…

As a boss, there are times when you get the opportunity to do great things. Things such as giving pleasing feedback on a job well done, or a pay rise or promotion for an employee that has worked towards a goal and look ready to take the next step (noting that the next step is not always becoming a people-manager).

But sometimes it’s not…

However, we all know too well this is not the only aspect of management. There are times when the hard conversations have to be had and other times when the hardest of them all needs to occur – those famous words often only actually articulated during a massively dramatic and somewhat moving movie scene with the big all-powerful all-knowing overlord of a boss fires the traitor who has tried to sink the business to line their own fitly greasy pockets. We digress.

When an employee isn’t working out, for whatever reason, there is a decision to be made. And not making a decision is making a decision. I have worked with and around many teams, managers and business owners who when forced to decide on the removal of a toxic team member, procrastinate on the decision. Time is bided and the recurring dialogue of “managing them out” is used, and rarely effectively.

When it comes time to make the decision that is for the benefit of your business, make it a proactive and positive step. Yes, you’re impacting someone’s life, but, providing good and fair management has been provided, show leadership and sever the connection. This isn’t to say to be reckless with the lives and careers of others on a whim, but when the time arises, get on with it! The longer it lingers, the more damage you will be left to undo.

Not taking action involves a number of considerable downsides such as increasing toxicity within the business, white-anting of both internal and external relationships, the precedence that underperformance is tolerated, frustration from those trying to actively progress the business, and a weakened confidence in the leader’s ability to lead.

Phasing out might seem like a less confrontational resolution, but the damage done in the process can be vast and crippling. For the sake of you, your team, and the employee in question, be positive, take action, and be a leader. In the long term, your business, the culture, and those around you will be in a much stronger position than hoping the toxic team member makes the decision for you.