405.627.6326 matt@whyhr.guru

We’ve previously talked about the manager’s role as cheerleader and as lifeguard. Now it’s time to talk about the most challenging role for many managers—the bouncer.

I don’t know any managers who enjoy the process of firing an employee. There are surely some who see that it’s a necessary and often positive move for the organization, but I don’t know any who find joy in doing it. Yet it’s a critical step for companies who want to succeed.

The bouncer at a nightclub is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the club. They check IDs at the door to make sure no one underage sneaks in, which would put the club at risk of losing its liquor license or being shut down entirely.

The bouncer role for a manager is much the same. They screen people during the interview process to make sure they have the right team in place. And if someone gets in but starts to cause trouble, the manager in the bouncer role is responsible for dealing with it.

Now, managers shouldn’t skip straight to the bouncer role. It’s the third and final role, and it should only make an appearance after the manager has embodied both the cheerleader and the lifeguard role in a particular situation.

First you make sure employees understand the mission, vision, goals, and expectations of the company. Then you have the necessary conversations to identify the root cause of the issue and offer support to the struggling employee, and you document that process along the way. If those two things have happened and the employee still isn’t in line with the company, then it’s time to move to the bouncer role.

We’ve probably all experienced a work environment where underperforming or toxic employees were allowed to stay way too long. That toxic employee often becomes even more toxic and the company usually loses good employees because of it. When managers understand how and when to be the bouncer, it’s better for all employees and better for the company.

Do your managers struggle with terminating employees, even when everyone knows it needs to happen? We can help managers overcome the fear of discipline and termination.

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