In Shakespeare’s Henry IV, the title character finds himself worn out by his duties as king and jealous of his “poorest subjects [who] are at this hour asleep!”
Poor King Henry concludes, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
Leaders who enjoy power and prestige also own the worries that come with great responsibility.
Terminating employees is one of those responsibilities and it’s rarely easy – whether it’s someone whose under-performance is obvious, or a person with long ties to the organization.
As a leader, you must address under-performing employees regardless of their level and tenure in the organization, otherwise your reputation within the organization takes a hit.
Your failure to act is also disrespectful to your top performers.
You’re wearing the crown. You have the responsibility to do what must be done.
A CEO once reported to his peers in one of my Vistage groups that he had terminated an executive who also was a family friend after giving this person every chance to succeed.
Hearing this news, a fellow CEO remarked, “Congratulations on your business successes and condolences for the tough personnel decision. I am afraid it comes with the territory.”