How to fire someone with grace, dignity, and respect

The “right way” to fire an employee doesn’t exist — but we can all get closer to it by keeping these 6 things in mind.


Have you ever fired someone?

I never can quite shake how crummy firing an employee feels. Or, at least I don’t easily.

I let someone go a few months ago, and remember thinking:

How do you fire an employee with dignity, grace, and respect? Is there a way to do it that minimizes the awfulness of the situation?

In an effort to answer this question, I’d asked a few mentors and posed this question to The Watercooler — our community of almost 400 leaders from all over the world.

I put together the top 6 recommendations they suggested for firing an employee. One of them was a particularly helpful to me:

“This sucks for you, but sucks way worse for them… To be frank, the other person doesn’t care how difficult the decision was for you — you made it, regardless. And, if you really didn’t want to do it, you wouldn’t have. Of course it sucks for you, but that’s not for you to impose on the person you’re firing.”

Such an important reminder.

Read on to see the rest of their recommendations, in my latest chapter in our Knowledge Center 📚.

I hope these recommendations help you, as much as they did me.






P.S.: Please feel free to share + give this piece 👏 so others can find it too. Thanks 😄 (And you can always say hi at @cjlew23.)

Written by Claire Lew

CEO of Know Your Team. My mission in life is to help people become happier at work.

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