I had to let a contractor go recently and it was painful.

They hadn’t done work for months, but we kept him around because we thought he would turn this around with coaching. And we really liked the guy.

But things didn’t change– he still didn’t perform. Clients and team members weren’t happy with this person.

I made the repeated mistake each time of trying to give him another chance.

That was a big mistake– and one of the most common new manager mistakes– to hope that someone who is clearly not performing can turn things around.

This is not the same thing as an in-house employee making mistakes along the way– a normal part of communication and iteration.

You want to encourage people who are making the effort to test and improve.

I’m talking about flat-out ignoring messages repeatedly and not making progress on client projects.

When this happens, you must do the kind thing and let them go— they will breathe a sigh of relief, as will their teammates who are painfully aware of your inaction.

Because when you delay, they become angry and entitled– perhaps even harassing and abusing you, talking bad about you to everyone.

You won’t be able to convince them of the simple facts, since they will feel personally wronged after being fired.

Hire slow, fire fast.

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