How to Release a Team Member Who No Longer Supports You

Imagine… You’ve hired someone who turns out to be an imperfect match. From the start, there were some blunders and they didn’t quite follow through as you would have liked, but you focused on not micromanaging and letting them do their thing.

Soon, you notice you’re picking up their slack, and eventually, doing almost all of the work you delegated to them because you like them. What’s worse, projects are falling through the cracks again and clients are NOT happy with that.

I get it. It’s uncomfortable to face things that aren’t working. But you can’t hide your head in the sand and hope things will get better or pretend a situation just doesn’t exist.

Keeping someone who is misaligned or not meeting expectations is not helping you grow or supporting you as the amazing CEO you are! When this situation happens, there are two ways you can release (AKA fire) a team member who is no longer supporting you. Approach either choice with kindness and respect and I promise the discomfort of letting this person go will not be something you regret doing!

Choice #1: Address the Situation

Now, I didn’t say confront because this isn’t a confrontation! This is simply a conversation to talk about the situation and what can be done to rectify it.

Schedule a time to talk and address the underperformance or how expectations aren’t being met with the person. Then, give them an opportunity to improve. Be specific and give examples of when expectations were not met or they were slacking on certain things you had to pick up.. This is also a great time to share how you’d appreciate the situation to be handled in the future.

At the end of the conversation, give a clear outline of expectations and refreshed job description. Schedule a time to talk in the future and a clear objective of what you expect to happen by then, along with consequences (like probation, a pay cut, or firing this team member) if they don’t rise to your expectations. It can be helpful to list these expectations out on a Google Sheet and share them with the team member after your conversation. 

Give your team member an opportunity to improve and see how they work with the new expectations. If you both would like to carry on, sign a new contract or subagreement with the new working terms. Otherwise, enforce the consequences you stated in your initial conversation. That may mean parting ways amicably at this time.

Related Reading: 3 Mistakes to Avoid when Hiring an Executive Virtual Assistant

Choice #2: Peacefully Part Ways Now

If you decide, “You know what, I would like  to release this team member,” without giving them the chance to improve upon their actions, treat the situation with grace and respect. And, most importantly, end it quickly. The worst break ups are fraught with gray areas and uncertainty. Don’t do this to another person!

While you don’t have to say why you wish to release this team member, it is courteous to share a few reasons why you wish to no longer continue with this person’s support. Give a clear final date and what you need them to do prior to that date. In the meantime, work on updating your hiring preferences and put out an application using the steps I shared here.

Related Reading: Your Top Executive Virtual Assistant Questions Answered

It’s never fun to release a team member who is no longer supporting you, but in the long run, it’s

for the best for all involved. They’ll find a client who better fits with their skills and you’ll find a team member who fully supports your needs.

Use this as an opportunity to reflect on the situation and make choices and commitments to not repeat the same mistakes in hiring. This is something that may take time, but if you’re feeling lost on how to hire the RIGHT person first thing, then check out this blog that gives you major tips on how to set your expectations and attract the right Virtual Assistant from the very beginning! 

If you’re interested in working with an executive virtual assistant to provide support, and you want to know what an EVA can do for you, click here to download The Ultimate Guide for Leveraging EVA Support! In this guide, I give you outlines for clarifying exactly what you need in a Virtual Assistant before you put a hiring post on the socials!

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