Relevant Leadership

Helping Leaders To Be More

Relevant Leadership is a site to help equip, train, and empower youth pastors and their volunteer leaders to effect a generation of students for the Glory of God.

When a Leader Reproduces the Wrong Thing

If you have been in leadership for any length of time, you know one of the most difficult things a leader faces is removing someone from the organization.  If you are in the business world, it could mean removing someone’s livelihood and ability to support himself and his family.  If you are in the ministry world, you know the trials of removing a volunteer who can take being removed very personally.  Neither situation is easy.  I have been part of both situations and have found a few things that make the process a little less painful for both you and the person you need to remove.

Image found at by Felix Russell-Saw

Image found at by Felix Russell-Saw

1. BE CLEAR AND HONEST.  Few things are worse then a relationship ending abruptly and without good reason.  If you are removing someone from your organization, you are most likely removing him or her from more than just one relationship.  Honesty may not be the easy way, but I have learned it is the most effective way.  Don’t make excuses about it not being your call, or it only has to do with budget, or you feel like it’s just not a good fit, unless those things are true.  If their removal is performance related tell them.  If it is moral failure tell them.  If it is a call you made to preserve the culture of your organization then own it.  Everyone will be better off with honesty than with trying to “let them down easy”.

2. BRING PROOF.  If you are letting someone go or removing someone from your ministry because of performance, show clearly where you had set a standard and she failed to meet it.   Show her the leadership covenant she signed when she joined your team and point out how she has broken it.  Show her the written standards she was given so she would preserve your organizational culture and then outline the behavior she is exhibiting that is hurting that culture.  Be clear and honest once again, and make sure you can show her how she was made aware of the standard and how she didn’t rise to the occasion.

3. EXERCISE EXTREME GRACE.  Even if it’s an employee who doesn’t fit well with your organization, realize it isn’t his fault.  That is on you.  Your hiring process ought to have seen the lack of fit.  Or it’s a failure on your part to properly instill in them your organizational culture and values.  If it is a moral failure, own that your ministry did not work hard enough to care for him spiritually, or you failed to put the accountability in place to at least provide a roadblock to keep him from the decision he made.  No matter how you go about it make sure you err on the side of grace.  Preserve the person’s dignity.  Decide ahead of time what you will tell the other members of your team.  Never gossip.  If you had to fire the person and you can provide a severance, then give them more then is expected.  Always err on the side of grace.

Removing someone from your organization will never be easy.  It will however, need to happen if you want to keep your organization heading in the same direction and if you want to preserve and protect its culture.  While it won’t be easy, it will be worth it in the end. When the decision to remove a person has been made, the sooner you act on the decision the better it will be for everyone involved.