Can You Fire Your Employee and Still Recommend Them?


I knew this question would receive negatives more than a positives answer. But in reality, the circumstances surrounding it matters most.

I have been postponing sharing this story for a while when one of my protégé stop by my office. I can perceive he is doing fine and I briefly asked how he is doing at the new place I recommended him, it gladdens my heart to hear better news from him. He may not be able to achieve that much in years if not for that recommendation.

He has from inception been good when things are tough, that is why I gave him an opportunity when the going is becoming better but seem something goes wrong that led to a sudden change in attitude that I can not figure out with all tactics and encouragement. So, I have to stop him immediately because it is affecting my business.

I had three (3) thought when I took this decision;

  1. Maybe, there is a better offer for him elsewhere which he is finding difficult to take a decision, it is better I forced him to take it with the intention that when he came back begging to work again should it turn out bad, I will give him chance. Although I found out later there is none and he never came back to reapply
  2. It is painful but rewarding to learn in a hard way because when people see opportunity on a platter of gold they value it less. So, if it turns out that he is only misbehaving for no reason, losing it may be a wakeup call to brace up and use his creativity to do something better. I think this work because after the layoff he started using the skills acquired to get engage and collaborate with someone to put the skills to use.
  3. The inefficiency and sudden change of attitude maybe as a result of take-home pay, company inefficiency, or personal/family challenges which he is not ready to share with me. The job is not paying much, just like an internship with the minimum wage as an allowance. But as a trainee, assuming he is enjoying what he is learning coupled with my mentoring could be the wrong perspective because that shows in the change of attitude.

You might be doing wrong than good condemning people. I am not disputing many people do not need help they are asking for, but it is left for you to figure out whether to do so or not. The help you render today may be an opportunity in disguise for you tomorrow.

Some school of thought believes empathy have no role to play in business. They believe that running a successful business is strictly following the organization to lay down rules and regulations in line with acceptable business ethics. While I am not disputing that, I believe good leadership many times require an exceptional approach that is out of business ethics to excel in which empathy is among the top list.

A study of 400 leaders, conducted by DDI, a global HR consulting company headquartered in Pittsburgh, found that empathy is the leadership skill most strongly and consistently linked to performance.

"Leaders who were weaker in empathy were weaker in job performance," said Evan Sinar, Ph.D., chief scientist and vice president at DDI. "It is also the leadership skill that most leaders struggle with. Only 40 percent demonstrate that effectively."

Sources: Forbes

My decision to help him even after dismissing him may be hampered if I find out the following when he is working with me;

  1. Dishonesty: If he is such a type that is not trustworthy, it will be hard for me to keep him not to talk of recommending him.
  2. Disloyalty: Just like dishonesty, a disloyal staff is harmful to an organization success

The degree and attitude towards such shortcomings and any other negative attitudes will further determine whether to help him or not.

Apart from gross misconduct, empathy not just towards your employee but also to customers and the hosting community is a good leadership skill to build a successful organization.



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