“You’re Fired.” It looked easy when ‘The Donald’ did it on his reality show The Apprentice. And maybe it is for him. In the real world, it’s tougher. Few people say or hear those exact words. It’s usually “we’re reorganizing” or “we’re being forced to downsize.” Occasionally, someone hears the words “we’re letting you go.” It’s usually for repeatedly not showing up to work or for poor performance on the job.
But how does a Jesus-follower do this . . . especially when the person being let go is also a Christian? And maybe even a really nice guy? In my career, I’ve let a lot of people go. Early on, before Christ found me, I fired people with little thought or sensitivity. As I matured in my faith and matured as a leader, I learned some stuff that changed my attitude.
Success in hiring people comes down to fit. Does the person’s competency and character fit with the job they’re in? Do they have good chemistry with their boss, customers, vendors and the people in the organization? There are very few bad people out there. But there’s a ton of people who don’t fit with the jobs and cultures they work in. When you figure that out, you have to move on it. To do otherwise delays the day when that person finds a job they can thrive in.
As a Jesus-follower, I’m to love everyone . . . no matter how they perform on the job. When the day comes we have to ‘part ways,’ do I stop loving that person? If so, my love wasn’t genuine to start with. I must take responsibility for them not being a ‘fit.’ After all, I’m the one who picked them in the first place! When letting people go, why not take on the task of helping them find another job? Isn’t that the least I can do since I ‘sidetracked’ their career by putting them into a job they couldn’t succeed in? Not everyone wants the help. Some get wounded and mad and just go away. But whenever the person is willing, I set a phone appointment with them each week to talk about the interviews they’ve had, their job prospects and anything I might be able to do to help them. I give accurate and honest references to potential future employers. I make introductions to hiring managers, being totally honest about what the person is good at and what they’re not. More than anything, I make sure the person knows I care about them and I won’t abandon them until they find another job.
Christian business leaders are often viewed as hypocrites because their love is conditional . . . just like the rest of the world. We serve a Heavenly Father whose love is unconditional . . . who never says “You’re fired.” Yes, He rebukes. He’s often silent when we embrace sin and go our own way. He lets us live with the consequences of our actions. But He never gives up on us as people. Isn’t that how we should relate to the people we work with, even when we stop working with them day to day?
Prayer – Lord, please make me a leader worth following. Refine my love for people so I value them but never use them. Thank you for valuing me . . . enough to die for me! Grow me Lord. Give me the faith to lead in ways the world notices and is drawn to you as a result. In your beautiful name. Amen.
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