You both know when it's not working out. Showing up gets harder and harder, and finally it's just a game of chicken about who pulls the plug first. Nobody likes to terminate a position or get fired, but it's one of those necessities in the world of business.
One CEO thinks there's a better way to handle it, though — and counterintuitively, it involves slowing the whole process down. Writing for the Harvard Business Review, entrepreneur David Siegel advocates for what he calls transparent separation. If that sounds a little too close to conscious uncoupling for you, don't worry: Siegel isn't looking to create a lifestyle brand.
"With transparent separations, you don't blindside an underperforming employee or fire him outright," he writes. "Instead, you encourage him to leave on his own by letting him know he is going to be let go in time and needs to start looking for a new job ASAP." There are a few reasons Siegel sets up the process this way. He believes it's a more humane approach that preserves the employee's dignity and opens up better communication with the employer. It also recognizes that fit is everything, and that a worker may simply be a better match with another position or another company; being fired, in other words, isn't always a reflection of an employee's worth as an employee.
This method requires firm boundaries and clear communication, perhaps more so than other kinds of breakups. But the payoffs are meaningful for the entire company, if properly implemented. Read Siegel's piece for a deeper dive into his process, his reasoning, and his results.