Why Are We Afraid to Fire People?
We see this quite often in our work. People in the wrong jobs doing the best they can just to hang on. And employers letting it happen. This situation has several devastating and damaging effects:
- First of all, it hurts the organization in obvious ways. Money is spent on labor with little or no positive return on the investment.
- It hurts the employer. This manager is letting a bad situation continue which negatively affects their reputation and professionalism. If you are a manager reading this and you are in a situation like this you really need to change it. You need to change because it not only affects your track record, which you will need to own and "sell" in the future, it also affects how you feel about yourself as a professional. This important detail will undermine your confidence as a manager, as well as your effectiveness. Believe me, it hurts you just as much as the lack of production of your employee is hurting the organization.
- It hurts the employee. You know how it feels to be doing work that you are either not good at or not motivated to do. It's terrible! And having to get up in the morning and fake it for eight or more hours is demeaning and tiring. Then, having been through all of that, to know that the result you have achieved is below standards takes another chunk out of your sagging self image. All of this causes fear and anxiety which further takes its toll. It is not a good situation. It is like dying a slow death.
- It hurts other employees. You've seen how a nonproductive member of the team affects the team. It's difficult to watch. And more difficult to experience. And the longer it goes on, the more chatter there is about how bad the organization is, how bad the manager is, how bad the person is, etc. The whole thing creates a larger negative dynamic that, as time goes on, becomes more and more difficult to control and contain.
- In fundraising, it hurts donors. When an employee who deals with donors is not performing up to standard, the donor suffers and eventually goes away. Jeff and I have seen this happen far too often. In fact, we have a situation now where one MGO simply believes all donors are the same, that it is impossible and unnecessary to treat them as individuals, and so he just does his direct marketing thing with every donor on his caseload. This is abusive and intolerable. It does not honor the donor and it hurts the organization. But it is the belief and work standard for this MGO, which is why he is not succeeding, and why donors are being hurt under his management.
Here's the thing. The primary reason a person does not perform in their job is that the job does not match the person's motivations and abilities. It's that simple. That's why, in my mind and management practice, I have changed the whole meaning of "firing" a person to "transitioning" a person to a place that really works for them.
If you’re hanging with Richard it won’t be long before you’ll be laughing.
He always finds something funny in everything. But when the conversation is about people, their money and giving, you’ll find a deeply caring counselor who helps donors fulfill their passions and interests. Richard believes that successful major-gift fundraising is not fundamentally about securing revenue for good causes. Instead it is about helping donors express who they are through their giving. The Connections blog will provide practical information on how to do this successfully. Richard has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experience, and is founding partner of the Veritus Group.