Fired prevention

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Many years ago, I was sitting in a staff meeting to have a detailed discussion about the behavior of a recently terminated employee. In this organization, a “staff meeting” included everyone from first-level supervisors all the way up the organizational chart—including the CEO. It was the CEO who made the final decision that termination was the appropriate disciplinary action. The meeting occurred so many years ago that I don’t remember the behavior that caused the termination. But there was one thing that happened during the meeting that is so clear in my memory that it’s as though it happened yesterday.

Immediately following the CEO’s summary of events and the termination decision, a first-level supervisor leaned back in his chair with his arms folded across his chest. With an attitude of arrogance and a sense of defiant satisfaction, he proudly exclaimed, “I saw that coming!” I was shocked. I remember looking at that supervisor and thinking, “How can you watch a coworker walk off a cliff and do absolutely nothing to intervene?”

As a leader or influencer in your workplace, wouldn’t you want to be the hero in this story? Wouldn’t you want to recognize the red-flag warnings and take some action to prevent the coworker from walking off the cliff? You absolutely can be the hero. There are multiple indicators (red flags) forewarning career-ending behaviors. You need to know what they are and how to recognize them in the workplace to prevent a coworker from getting fired. Armed with the ability to recognize red flag warnings, you can be the hero in this story.

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