As a small business owner, you must make difficult decisions on a regular basis as you grow and expand your team. One of these decisions may include terminating an employee.

You may have formed a strong bond with this person or had a long-term relationship with them. You may have even become friends over time. This can make it even tougher to let go of someone who has been such an important part of your life.

Many leaders prolong the employee’s termination due to their anxiety over handling the situation. However, this can have a negative impact on your business including poor quality work, reduced customer satisfaction, and low employee morale. 

It’s best to rip the bandaid off so everyone can move on. The tips below can help you cope with firing an employee after your decision has been made.

Grieve the loss.

When terminating an employee, it’s normal to feel sad. You need to give yourself some time to process your feelings about this situation, then it will become easier for you to move on.

Be sure to process your grief in a healthy way. If you feel like crying, go ahead and do so—it’s okay to let those emotions out (away from your employees). 

But don’t dwell on the situation and focus on your negative feelings too much; otherwise, you could end up feeling depressed and anxious. 

You should not have any guilt. It’s easy to feel like you’re taking someone’s livelihood away when you fire an employee. But it’s not your fault that they didn’t work out—it was their job to perform better. Unfortunately, they don’t currently have what it takes to succeed at your company.

Know that you made the right decision.

You did what was best for everyone involved. This can be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s important to remember that you had no other choice.

You didn’t want to let the employee go, but they were not performing at a level that would allow them to continue working for you. The person may have been a valuable asset to your business in the past, but that doesn’t mean they will be forever. 

Remember that you are the boss, and you have a responsibility to your employees and your business.

You need to make sure that everyone is working towards the same goals as you and understands how their role affects the company. If they’re not willing or able to do so, then they don’t belong on your team. It’s best for everyone involved if they are let go as soon as possible to find a job better suited to their talents.

woman thinking and writing

Reflect on what happened.

Take the time to reflect on what you have learned from having this employee as part of your team.

Did you make mistakes as a manager? Were there things that could have been done differently to improve the performance of the employee? What lessons can you take away from this experience and apply to future employees?

After you have reflected, write down your thoughts. This is a great way to help you remember what happened. This will also solidify your learning experience and prevent you from making the same mistakes again in the future.

Appreciate your remaining team.

It can be easy to get caught up in the negative emotions surrounding firing an employee, but it’s important not to forget about the positive impact the rest of your team has on your business.

Make sure you take the time to be thankful for your employees and their contributions.

It’s possible that your remaining employees are unhappy with the way things have been going in the company. They may have felt the effects of your terminated employee’s poor performance.

Or they could have been really good friends with the person and are upset about the termination.

By showing appreciation for your team’s efforts, they will feel valued and more likely to stay on board once things calm down. And it can improve your team’s morale and productivity long-term.

Although terminating an employee is hard to do, sometimes it is the best option for yourself, the team, and the business.

It is important to remember that the employee who leaves will not be your last.

You need to be able to adapt and continue building your business despite this setback. This will help you build a stronger, more productive team and keep your company moving forward.

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