If you want to lead in a way that creates a more compassionate and just workplace, you can't avoid holding people accountable.
As leaders, we likely all know this, but as our guest, Jill Shroyer, mentions without the skills needed to have the difficult conversations that accountability demands, we might choose just to avoid the situation.... until we can't.
In this episode, we discuss how to handle underperforming team members and navigate tough conversations. We'll also dive into the importance of preparing for unexpected reactions and discussing the "what ifs" when letting someone go.
Get ready to learn and develop these essential leadership skills you need to confidently address challenging scenarios while fostering a just and compassionate workplace.
Jill is the Founder and Lead Consultant of Expedition HR. She lives in Park City, Utah with her husband, 2 kids, 20 year old cat, and dog. Jill is passionate about mountain biking, skiing deep powder, and traveling abroad with her family. She comes to us with over 20 years of HR experience across 5 industries. Businesses who do not have the budget to hire a full time HR employee hire Expedition HR to provide expert HR support and guidance through the HR Subscription and HR Jumpstart trainings. It’s like having an HR Director on call! Jill also offers 5-Star Tough Conversations Leadership Trainings nationwide, in-person and virtually.
While it's not perfect, we offer this transcription by Castmagic for those who prefer to read or who are hearing impaired.
Teri Schmidt [00:00:00]:
An important but sometimes overlooked part of creating a more just and compassionate workplace through leadership is holding people accountable. As leaders, we likely all know this. But as our guest, Jill Shroyer, mentions, without the skills needed to have the difficult conversations that accountability demands? We might choose just to avoid the situation until we can't. That's why I brought Jill on to talk about one way that she loves to support leaders, helping them conquer sticky situations through simple steps that make it easier, not easy, to deal with situations where people are not meeting performance expectations. Jill is the founder and lead consultant of Expedition HR. She lives in Park City, Utah with her husband, 2 kids, 20 year old cat, and dog. Jill is passionate about mountain biking, skiing deep powder, and traveling abroad with her family. She comes to us with 20 years of HR Experience across 5 industries. Businesses who do not have the budget to hire a full time HR employee, hire Expedition HR to provide expert HR support and guidance through the HR subscription and HR jump start trainings. It's like having an HR director on call. Jill also offers 5 star tough conversations leadership trainings nationwide, in person and virtually. Let's get into this conversation. I'm Teri Schmidt, director and leadership coach at Stronger to Serve Coaching and Team Building, where we believe that leadership is about courageously using your talents to make a way for others to courageously use theirs. And this is the Strong Leaders Serve podcast.
Welcome, Jill, to strong leaders serve. I'm looking forward to Our conversation today, even though it's about a topic that I think a lot of leaders just wish would never happen, but I'm really looking forward to talking to you about it because I know you have some techniques for making it a little bit easier and, something that we feel confident doing and that we know is for the good of everyone involved. So thank you for coming on today.
Jill Shroyer [00:02:32]:
Thank you so much, Terry. It's my pleasure. I'm excited about this.
Teri Schmidt [00:02:36]:
I love to start giving listeners an idea of your story and where you came from and what you are doing today. So I would love to hear from you about what you're doing today and Some of the pivotal moments of your journey that have gotten you to that place.
Jill Shroyer [00:02:53]:
Awesome. Thank you. So as you mentioned, I'm Jill Shroyer, and my company is Expedition HR. And we really exist To provide HR support to small businesses who don't have the budget to hire someone full time or part time even in HR. We don't do the admin, but we're there for helping handle those sticky situations, basically. I always say, you know, if it's someone not performing well or Someone maybe needs to be moved on. That's oftentimes why clients reach out to us. But we just love being there as kind of what we call an like an on call HR director.
Jill Shroyer [00:03:30]:
So, gosh, I started in HR back in 2001. I moved out to where I live now in Park City, Utah from New England. And Really, I had graduated college, didn't know what I wanted to do, and most people say, oh, did you find a job and moved out for a career? And I said, no, I moved out to Ski big mountain. And love that. That's exactly what I did. And I'd been talking to a few places and got a job at ski resort in HR, just kind of randomly, and found I really liked it. I speak fluent Spanish, and so it was really fun Helping all, like, the Visa employees and helping them, those that spoke Spanish from Central America, South America, And just really liked it and thought, well, if this is HR, I'm in. Uh-huh.
Jill Shroyer [00:04:17]:
And so kind of fast forward, like, 17 years, I just kinda kept with it. I was the lowest rung of the HR totem pole in my 1st job and didn't study HR in college, so just kinda learned it. So fast forward through a bunch of years, I'm so grateful. I'm kind of a gratitude junkie, but I always look back and I'm so We're grateful. I had some amazing mentors in HR that really propelled my career. I just like to say it was lucky. I also was really intentional about, I wanna do this, so I'm gonna put myself in the right spots and, you know, the pivotal moment was 5 years ago. Someone that I, I would say, do burpees with at the gym in my morning class, asked me if I could help her with something in her nonprofit.
Jill Shroyer [00:05:02]:
And she has had a sticky situation with an employee, and I said, yeah. Tell me, you know, a little more. Maybe we can meet for lunch. And she said, yeah. And we met for lunch, and she said, Basically, I just wanna know if you could do some HR consulting. And I thought, how fancy. And from there, I literally left that lunch saying, I'm gonna quit my job and become an HR consultant. And that was the pivotal Moment, really, because I realized I do love those sticky situation.
Jill Shroyer [00:05:32]:
People ask me, like, why, Jill? That's so Strange. People hate these situations, and I say because I get people from a place of being super anxious To a place of feeling at peace and at ease, just I I got kind of a a bunch of new clients coming on these last couple weeks. And I can just think of things they've all said recently as, Jill, I'm sleeping at night now. And Jill, just getting on the phone today, I feel so much calmer. And so that's what I love about it. So that's really I really leaned into that, and that's really what my focus is with my consulting. Going into my 6th year now and Offer an HR subscription, which is where I give this kinda on on demand, on call HR director type support to businesses who Don't wanna get themselves in hot water and need to kinda handle a situation. I also didn't wanna work full time anymore because Life is short and I have kids and I found it really hard to find a job that was part time
that was a Professional job. And so I've kinda crafted my business off this 15 to 20 hour work week and kinda outdo what I do and then outsource the rest and have not looked back and have had a lot of kind of kind of colleagues in the space reach out and say, I wanna do that too. I wanna work that part time schedule and have a professional business. So it's been really fun feeling kind of kinda like a leader in my space Mhmm. Because most deals start businesses and they just work 247 and realize, wow, now I have a job. So that's maybe the not so nutshell version of where I've been Yeah. And where I am today.
Teri Schmidt [00:07:09]:
Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing that and congrats on entering your 6th year. That is a huge accomplishment. And I think What you said about, you know, your clients saying now I can sleep at night. That, that just has to feel wonderful. And, you know, as I think about The leaders who listen to this podcast, they are interested in making their workplaces more compassionate and just. And Along with that comes a personality trait that they care. So obviously if they're listening to this podcast, They care.
Teri Schmidt [00:07:44]:
And when you care about the people that are working for you about the people that are working around you, And you run into one of those sticky situations that can keep you up at night, that can affect your health. So I'm So excited to dig into some of the strategies and just thankful for you for doing the work that you are doing to help those leaders sleep at night.
Jill Shroyer [00:08:07]:
Thank you. Just to comment on that, Terry. I I get asked sometimes, oh, but we don't wanna be this workplace that is the enforcers, or we don't wanna bring in HR and feel like we're like the police now. And I like to say, you can have conversations and, You know, measure people's performance and hold people accountable and be human centered. You can have it all.
Teri Schmidt [00:08:29]:
You you really can. And, you know, one of our values Here is conflict transformation. And, and that is, you know, taking conflict and turning it into something That helps people grow, that helps teams grow, that helps everyone work more effectively because serving as a leader is not about rescuing people. Yes. Yes. Yes. Helping them to develop, to grow. Those of us who are parents, you know, know the same thing with our kids, and there are definitely parallels there.
Teri Schmidt [00:09:00]:
But if you don't have the skills to transform that conflict or you don't have the skills to resist that urge To, you know, be nice all the time, as opposed to being kind. And you're just jumping in trying to do what relieves that pain in the moment. That can have very negative impact on your business, on your culture, long term. So Let's get into some of those skills because I know that, you wrote a book called Conquer Sticky Situations. And I would love to talk more about that because I wanted to hone in particularly in this episode about that situation Where you have a team member who is underperforming. And I know in your book, you share us a 5 step formula for handling a tough talk like that. So can you share that formula and maybe how you could apply it to this particular situation where you do have an employee on your team who is just not hitting the mark.
Jill Shroyer [00:10:04]:
Absolutely. Thanks for asking. And so my goal with everything I teach is to make it simple and easy to remember. So the formula has 5 steps, but 2 of them are say thanks. So the step 1 and step 5, I call them my bookends of gratitude. The first step is say thanks for having the meeting. I always say that just kinda softens everything and makes someone think, oh, they're thanking me even though I might have issue. They're thanking me.
Jill Shroyer [00:10:32]:
So that's always step 1. We'll talk about step 5 at the end. But step 2 is tell them why they're there, why you're having this Conversation as humans. I talk a lot in my consulting about, psychological safety.
Teri Schmidt [00:10:45]:
Jill Shroyer [00:10:46]:
And We need to know what's going on even if we are getting you know, I call it just constructive criticism. We have to just know. And so the first step why is to to say why you're there. So just to use maybe a generic example is, you know, Jane, we're here today because we're we need to talk about you missing deadlines. Mhmm. And so now Jane is thinking, oh, okay. Great. I thought there was something else going on.
Jill Shroyer [00:11:10]:
This is what we're talking about. She suddenly feels safer Mhmm. In that psychological safety sense. And step 3 is what? We need to describe using facts To support why we're having the conversation. So, Jane, you mess missed a deadline on January 10th, and you missed another one on February 5th, For example. Mhmm. And we're we're heading towards our March deadline, and we can't miss another deadline. Deadlines are crucial to our our customers and missing deadlines.
Jill Shroyer [00:11:45]:
If we miss deadlines, we risk losing customers who are the lifeblood of our business. And so you wanna tell her exactly what is happening. So it's step 3, like I say, is what. And so then moving on to step 4 is how. If we don't give our employees exact expectations, we can't just expect that they're going to figure it out. I think this is probably the most common misstep is like, here's the issue. Here's what I've noticed. You know, it missed deadlines, and then you just kinda say, okay.
Jill Shroyer [00:12:16]:
So can you fix this? And they're saying, yeah. Yeah. They just wanna be out of the meeting. So this step for how is, you know, Jane, if if a week before For the deadline, you think you may miss the deadline. I would like for you to set up a meeting with me for 15 minutes so we can talk through what barriers may exist or what resources you need and just what's going on. We cannot miss the next deadline.
Teri Schmidt [00:12:39]:
Jill Shroyer [00:12:39]:
Does this make sense? And then Jane can obviously ask questions, and you just wanna make sure that it it resonates with how we need things to change. And then once that is kind of buttoned up, step 5 is the kind of the other bookend of gratitude. You know, Jane, thanks for having this conversation. I appreciate you being receptive to to the feedback.
Teri Schmidt [00:13:01]:
Jill Shroyer [00:13:02]:
So that's really the formula. I'll just say it again. So it's say thanks, say why you're there, Say what the issues are. Step 4, say how they can improve. And step 5, again, is thanks for having the conversation. And please document it, send an email Following whatever disciplinary process process you use or coaching, definitely send them an email following that recaps each of these steps really succinctly. And then if I might, Terry, just adding in a layer that so we have the 5 steps, which You might say, okay. Great.
Jill Shroyer [00:13:35]:
We've got this framework, but there's there's some questions I have about, like, how to apply it. So I mentioned I really like simplicity.
Teri Schmidt [00:13:43]:
Jill Shroyer [00:13:44]:
So I always say a sentence for the why. It's 1 sentence.
Teri Schmidt [00:13:48]:
Jill Shroyer [00:13:48]:
In step 2, for the what, maybe 2 sentences.
Teri Schmidt [00:13:53]:
Jill Shroyer [00:13:53]:
Maybe 3 at most. In step 4, how? Same thing. Maybe 2 to 3 sentences. Keep it simple. Like they say in marketing, if you confuse them, you lose them. Mhmm. And so and then the 2nd kind of prong I say to this formula is be straightforward. We're not doing anyone any favors if we dance around the issue.
Jill Shroyer [00:14:14]:
Like, if we say, Jane, you know, deadlines aren't being hit. You know, you do a really good job and, you know, you that Project you did, it was really great and you know, but sometimes you come in late, but the deadlines she's gonna leave that meeting not knowing what the issue is. Right. And like, I love how you said earlier, being like kind, it's it's okay to give feedback as long as it's it done in a kind way. Mhmm. And nothing I said in that example is mean. It's straightforward. It's I I say it has to be 3 things.
Jill Shroyer [00:14:42]:
It has to be kind, It has to be professional and it has to be direct and straightforward.
Teri Schmidt [00:14:48]:
Jill Shroyer [00:14:48]:
And if it's not all 3 things, we're missing the mark. Yeah. And the 3rd prong is human centered. If this can make the person feel less as a person, Re look at your words.
Teri Schmidt [00:15:01]:
Jill Shroyer [00:15:01]:
always say script it out, you know, plan it ahead of time. If this doesn't feel in high integrity, It could be that you're missing the human approach. Maybe there's something you're sensing wrong with the person. Don't just go ahead and give them the feedback. Maybe Factor in the human centered and say, hey, Jane, I have some things I'd like to talk to you about. I just wanna check. Are you doing okay? Mhmm. That's being human centered first and then assessing kind of if there is something else going on, We can still address the performance.
Jill Shroyer [00:15:34]:
Maybe it just needs to be at a later time or the next day even. So that's really the formula and the 3 pronged approach.
Teri Schmidt [00:15:43]:
Yeah. Excellent. I love that you keep it simple And it mirrors a lot of what we talk about in terms of just general feedback giving. I talk a lot about the Center For Creative Leadership Situation behavior impact model. So, you know, this was the situation. This is what you did, and this was the impact. And I see that Similarly, weave through your steps. And I think that's so important that people can not only see what, what is the behavior that we're talking about here, but Why is it important? What, what was the impact of it? And I, I love that you also talk about, you know, the how.
Teri Schmidt [00:16:19]:
Okay. So What do I need to do to fix it? And I think hopefully this isn't the 1st conversation you've had with this person as well. You know, speaking to psychological safety, you know, as you hopefully are onboarding them and, and getting to know them and developing them. You have a sense of what is going to speak to them in this Conversation. And you have a sense of, you know, what strengths can we really tap into for that how? You know, it it's not about muddying the waters or saying you did this great or you did this great. But instead, you know, If you know that person is missing deadlines, but they're a person who, you know, really likes to check things off their to do list, they are kind of more of that Achiever, how can you weave that into the how? So how can you say, you know, okay, we're gonna, I'm gonna, you know, you're gonna make this checklist and you're gonna Check it off, for example, on the way to meeting that deadline or something like that.
Jill Shroyer [00:17:23]:
I love that. I love that you pointed that out. One thing too in the how, the manager doesn't have to find the solution all the time, in the how they could say, Jane, you see how this is a big issue. What are your ideas on how to fix this. Mhmm. You say if it's someone that is really creative, you maybe start there and say, Jane, I'm not gonna tell you how to fix this. Let's have a conversation. And then Jane not only feels bought in, but Jane might love the fact that she can use her, say, creativity strength to say, well, here's some things that might work.
Teri Schmidt [00:17:56]:
Yeah, exactly. And, and I love that then that you can then, like you said, get that buy in and Still be really clear on expectations leaving that call or that meeting and and then reiterating them like you said in email. I know from experience, documentation is is key. Yes. I love that you added that in as well.
Jill Shroyer [00:18:18]:
Blaine, you mentioned, you know, That this shouldn't be the 1st conversation. Agreed. You know, the 1st conversation should probably happen when they miss that 1st deadline and say, woah. Wait a minute. Did we miss Giving you some training or did are you clear on the expectation and that was kind of you know, the first step is During onboarding, I'm sure you talk a lot about this as we we don't just need to ask once if they're good with their job. Like, it's the constant revisiting. What do you need from me? Or do you have any barriers that you're finding early on? And, you know, I I always tell managers, set expectations and then oftentimes reset them, You know, as time goes on, because like through a job description or, you know, a job description with a conversation, that's just, I I'm sure you do too see that so much where they just didn't really know.
Teri Schmidt [00:19:09]:
Jill Shroyer [00:19:09]:
They were or weren't supposed to be doing something In in total integrity they didn't know.
Teri Schmidt [00:19:15]:
Yeah. Yeah. Definitely. Yeah. Yeah. In in my work, doing some performance consulting in corporate That, you know, we kind of had a a model that we applied to what helped people to perform and expectations and feedback was always The top reason that people were underperforming. So it wasn't knowledge and skills that people try to solve through training. It was more that expectations and feedback.
Teri Schmidt [00:19:40]:
So what I love about your steps is that, you know, you're making those expectations very clear for moving forward after you give the feedback that they have perhaps not met expectations that you have set in the past. And your point about, You know, continuing to check-in with them on their job about what they need. That answers 1 additional question I was gonna ask you. I was gonna ask you, where does, Or does the why question come in? So do you ever ask, and you kind of address this a little bit about, you know, Is anything going on? It it seems like, you know, you're struggling in some ways. But do you ever ask the question, okay, I see you're missing these deadlines. Can you tell me more about that? Or, you know, what is what's contributing to this? Where where does that Fit into the conversation, or would that be in a conversation that you should have had prior to that?
Jill Shroyer [00:20:39]:
That's a great add on and great question. I would say In the how, perhaps? Mhmm. If it already happened and it's you know, it actually did happen, they have documentation that it did they did miss 2 deadlines. I think the how step, it would fit nicely to say, look, I've just shared some feedback. Now I want to know, Jane, you know, is this accurate? Is there anything I'm missing? Is there something Yeah. Is there something going on here or yeah. Again, something that I'm missing here? Mhmm. I love asking questions just like Even just asking someone, you know, would that be okay if I shared some feedback? Mhmm.
Jill Shroyer [00:21:15]:
You know, thanks for meeting. Would it be okay if I shared some feedback with you and, you know, some people cringe when they hear, oh, no one likes to be asked that, but you're asking permission. I know we're be both big fans of Nikki Rauch, and she's always a fan of Asking permission. Mhmm. And I I don't see why we can't ask permission even in one of these kind of tough conversations.
Teri Schmidt [00:21:35]:
Yeah, definitely. Well, Let's take it a step further. Let's say you've had several of these conversations with someone. How do you know when it is time for them to move on or a time for them to not be on your team anymore.
Jill Shroyer [00:21:53]:
Yeah. Well, like you said, you know, there's a there's it's great to have documentation of what has been working. You know? So so often clients Forget to write all the things that are working. I said that's documentation too. But having good documentation of when they were spoken to you know, I teach a process of You coach first, and that's very positive, and it's very encouraging. You can still email them after. There's no write up or anything. It's just very encouraging And then typically moves forward from there into some sort of progressive policy.
Jill Shroyer [00:22:26]:
And the reason I say that is if We've tried a couple things as far as we've tried coaching, they're not improving. We maybe laid it out a little firmer the next time, and they're not improving. And, you know, there's no rule as as you know that you have to go through 25 steps before you let someone go. I think too often we overlook our gut. I don't wanna say though that that's the reason to let someone go. If the documentation supports something that says that this is They're not going to improve. You're actually doing them a favor. Yes.
Jill Shroyer [00:23:00]:
I always ask the question. I'm It's what's more scarier than letting someone go is letting someone stay who's disengaged. Mhmm. Like, that to me is way scarier because you've got someone team who could pull morale down. So, again, really, with documentation, Getting your kinda your sense in your gut, is this working out or is it not? And even just asking the employee along the way, are you happy here? Is this a place that you wanna be? Because sometimes I've asked people this over the years and they've said, no, I'm actually not happy. And then we can say, how can We support you with getting happier in a role. Is it this role? Is it another role? And just documenting these steps I don't know if that's the answer to your questions, but really making sure that they have been not only given the expectation, given the tools, And if they're still not improving, performing, we have to I always say, do that double check to make sure nothing we're missing as a manager. And then I don't like to delay things.
Jill Shroyer [00:24:05]:
We're not again, we're not doing the employee any favors by keeping them around. I just I hate Giving employees performance surprises. Mhmm. They shouldn't be surprised if they're let go. And if they are, that's a shame on the leader, frankly. They, they missed a step and it happens sometimes that they say, oh, I but using words like you're on thin ice, This isn't working. I've been asked by clients, can I say that? I said, yeah, that's really, that's direct. You want them to know that this is not working out.
Jill Shroyer [00:24:36]:
Something major has gotta Change.
Teri Schmidt [00:24:38]:
So Yeah. Yeah. It's definitely not a fun situation by any means. But I think, Like you said, even though they may not realize it in the moment, it's best for the employee as well, particularly if, You know, they are not happy if they are not engaged, if Yeah. They are not utilizing, you know, The fullness of their strengths and talents in that role. There's something else out there for them. And I know in today's job market, that That may seem a little bit trite to say, and, and maybe, you know, dishonest to say. But I do believe that there is a place for someone feel fulfilled about what they are doing.
Jill Shroyer [00:25:23]:
Yeah. And sometimes you're almost giving them permission.
Teri Schmidt [00:25:27]:
Jill Shroyer [00:25:27]:
There's so many people. I mean, rightfully so. We need job security to a to a point, of course. I mean, I don't wanna kinda minimize that, but sometimes Talking having these conversations frees someone up to say, yeah, I'm not happy here, but I don't wanna quit. That would feel and it it almost gives them permission to Say I mean, I've had I I'm can think back to a lot of instances where the employee says, you know, I'm actually glad we're having this conversation. I'm really not happy.
Teri Schmidt [00:25:55]:
Jill Shroyer [00:25:55]:
I don't really wanna be here, but I feel like I'm letting my team down. And it's like, okay, keep that going. Keep that conversation going because it's a great door opening to say, We would never want to keep you in a role that you're misaligned for
Teri Schmidt [00:26:08]:
Jill Shroyer [00:26:09]:
From your perspective. So
Teri Schmidt [00:26:11]:
Yeah, definitely. Well, What would you say? We've talked about what a leader should do. What are some of the common mistakes that leaders might make in this situation where they do have an employee that is underperforming.
Jill Shroyer [00:26:25]:
Yeah. What what mistakes leaders make, you said they want to jump right to termination When without documentation or they say, well, yeah, but I had this conversation. It's not documented. I see a lot of that happening and then they they go to let the person go and they say that was awful. And we know it was awful because you didn't set any expectation or or or you've maybe you've I should say, maybe they felt they did set expectations, but you you and I both know if it really wasn't documented,
Teri Schmidt [00:26:56]:
Jill Shroyer [00:26:56]:
It's easy to say it didn't happen. So that's probably the number one mistake is clients come to me and say, I've got someone to move on and Mhmm. They don't have a whole lot of documentation. I think another one, actually, they have lots of documentation, But it has no substance. They've never given the person specifics.
Teri Schmidt [00:27:16]:
Jill Shroyer [00:27:17]:
And, again, the the the leader doesn't have to come up with all the solutions on how to get Better. They are the leader and the manager for a reason, and they do have a responsibility to set this person up for success, at least Initially and during onboarding and as much as they can. So I think that probably the number 2, reason I see is they say, oh, I have the, I have the documentation. I look at it, and it's so general that this there's no way this employee Could have improved because you have you've given really poor feedback.
Teri Schmidt [00:27:50]:
Jill Shroyer [00:27:51]:
I would say it has to be timely. It has to be specific. You know, it has to be very direct and kind. So those are probably the 2 biggest things I see Missed leaders misstep.
Teri Schmidt [00:28:04]:
Yeah. And I can see both of those having some pretty significant consequences. I mean, even Definitely from the people perspective, but even at times, I'm guessing from the legal perspective.
Jill Shroyer [00:28:16]:
Yes. Sometimes too, I was gonna just kinda add something that overlays both managers start getting angry and frustrated, which is natural, but they they are doing a poor job of Kind of working with their own emotional intelligence, and they they just check out and they I may have heard this expression. I'm done, Jill, I'm done. I don't wanna deal with this anymore. They're so frustrate. They can't get out of those emotions for a minute to look at things objectively, And they're just angry in that. I'm not faulting them because it's hard. It's so hard.
Jill Shroyer [00:28:50]:
Mhmm. When we get in that spot, though, it's really hard to come back From that, and, that's something I really enjoy working with leaders on, is say, let's just separate ourselves. Let's pretend this isn't the person because you're frustrated at them. Let's just picture it being an anonymous person.
Teri Schmidt [00:29:05]:
Jill Shroyer [00:29:05]:
And that usually helps them to say, oh, yeah. I mean, I guess anyone else I probably would've Given another chance or really sat down with again.
Teri Schmidt [00:29:14]:
Yeah. Yeah. And helps them to regulate their emotions like you were talking about, Utilizing some of those emotional intelligence skills because that is their job as a manager, as a leader, that that does come with the job description. So as much as you can develop those skills so that it is a little bit easier for for you, even, you know, when you are feeling so very frustrated in the moment. Having those skills in your back pocket can help Turn that situation into something that is a little bit more productive for all involved. Yeah. Well, I just wanna Get into the specifics really quickly because I kind of skipped over it. Is there anything that we didn't cover in the process of letting someone go other than having the documentation? Are there steps that sometimes people miss, because they don't think about it or know that they have to do it?
Jill Shroyer [00:30:07]:
Yes. For sure. So We kinda talked about the thought process. If there's so many things, if someone just needs to let someone go, I can offer is, like a script. Some people say, well, I don't like scripts. I don't like it to sound, you know, canned or or whatever the case. And I I challenge it by saying yes, but this is a A termination, letting someone go. This is a big deal.
Jill Shroyer [00:30:28]:
We don't want to misstep. I'd rather it sound scripted than you say something you Kind of regret. Mhmm. And I always recommend giving them some sort of a letter because it can happen. An employee gets let go and they're not really sure that they were let go. I know it Seems really strange, but I've seen it happen. And unless they get something in writing that you have on file, it's very clear that this was, You know, a meeting where that person is being let go. And practicing the script is so important to just be comfortable with what you're gonna say.
Jill Shroyer [00:30:59]:
But a key piece that I think think if there's any takeaway leaders bring, and I cover this in the book as well. I call it talk or think about the what ifs. What I mean by that is you go to tell this person, today's your last day. So in that why step, you'd say, we're letting you go today. You just get it right out and then maybe give them a reason or two, but what could they do? Could they cry? Could they get angry? Could they throw a chair at you? Could they get up and run out of the building? Could they say I'm gonna sue you? Could they what are all the and let's brainstorm all the things because we wanna be prepared. Mhmm. All too often, I see people go into a meeting where they're letting someone go and they haven't thought of these things, and every single one of those things catches them off guard. Mhmm.
Jill Shroyer [00:31:42]:
Whereas if you plan and something else happens, you're still gonna be more prepared. Every time I work on that with clients, they say that was One of the best things I've ever done that I've never really known to do before, and it's it gives a lot more ease, you know, the night before, knowing that I've thought through What could happen so for instance, like, have a box of tissues there. Mhmm. And if you think the person's gonna get angry, have someone that you trust that you can say what's going on, stand outside the door and be back up for you. Let and then if they say they're gonna sue, I teach them a phrase that says, you are welcome to do whatever you feel is important. And they they they never thought they could say something like that. So having this kind of toolbox of what ifs is is crucial along with having a script, having a letter prepared, and, Of course, you know, the reasoning as to why they're being let go to kinda package it up for because we owe it to that person. We owe them At least a short explanation.
Jill Shroyer [00:32:41]:
We don't need to give them 25 reasons. We do owe them some sort of short explanation. In my mind, I think that's the right thing to do about why they're getting let go. Yeah. I think that's and I think back to your other question though, Terry, something I thought of when you said, you know, what should managers think of when they have to let someone or what what mistakes do they make is they get so scared that they just avoid it. They don't they don't give the indirect feedback. They just don't give any feedback. They don't document it because they don't give it.
Jill Shroyer [00:33:11]:
They're just scared, and that is so common. And I wanna say to leaders out there, if they're like, oh gosh, that's me, it's so normal. It's so normal. It's We've got to try and move past that, but until we have tools Mhmm. To move past that, we shouldn't be expected to just know how because it is a very Scary thing, unless you have you know, I mentioned that toolbox of, you know, what to say and what to do and what to think about.
Teri Schmidt [00:33:38]:
Another reason that everyone needs to go out and get your book if they haven't already. So we'll definitely make sure that that's linked in the show notes. Thank you. I'd love to kind of bring it to a close with a question that we ask all of our guests recently, and that is what does Strong leaders serve mean to you.
Jill Shroyer [00:33:57]:
Yeah. Love that question. Well, I think the best leaders Understand that ultimately, they're they are there to serve their team and to support their team. Like you mentioned earlier, that is their job. And while they may have other job duties, which is likely, That's their number one priority is to serve their team. And I think this when it when you said phrased it, you know, strong leaders serve is The strongest leaders understand that they are there to serve their people.
Teri Schmidt [00:34:33]:
Jill Shroyer [00:34:33]:
And I think weak managers are more out for themselves, And they weak managers do not serve. Mhmm. I think that's yeah. That's really what it boils down to for me.
Teri Schmidt [00:34:45]:
Well, thank you for that. Well, as I mentioned, we'll have your book linked in the show notes. But if others want to get in touch with you, if they're In a situation where they would love to talk to you about bringing you on, maybe they, like you mentioned, you know, don't have an HR team but Need that support? Where is the best place for them to find you?
Jill Shroyer [00:35:06]:
Great. Well, they could just email me. I am happy to respond through email, just email@example.com, or LinkedIn's a great way to connect with me, just on there as Jill Shroyer as well. And of course, my website just detailed out kind of the how we go about supporting clients at expeditionhr.com.
Teri Schmidt [00:35:29]:
Well, excellent. Well, like I said, we'll make sure that all gets linked. But again, thank you for coming on today to talk about this topic that We all would just rather avoid, but it can actually, you know, have a positive impact if it is done appropriately using some of the steps in some of the tools that you talked about. I really enjoyed our conversation.
Jill Shroyer [00:35:51]:
I did as well, Teri. Thanks so much again.
Teri Schmidt [00:35:58]:
Now even if you don't have a situation on your team right now where you need to let someone go, and I hope you don't. Jill's advice can be applied to any conversation you're having with a team member. What steps did you like the best? Message me on LinkedIn and let me know. And until next time, lead with this quote by Peter Bromberg in mind: "When we avoid difficult conversations, we trade short term discomfort for long term dysfunction.