How do you know when ID-100308051to let go of a relationship (referral source, employee, partner, etc.)? Over the past 18 years, we have received countless messages from people who tell us why X employee is not working out. Yet when we say, “She has to go,” they just as quickly respond with, “It’s not that bad, she is better than my last __.”

You begin questioning whether the employer might be crazy; you’re told the employee is doing great “today,” etc. The “it’s not that bad” cycle begins.

So how do you know when it’s time to let go or keep trying harder? It’s quite simple – when the relationship has more strain than strength.

Here are the three telltale signs that it’s time to terminate the relationship:

1. Strain – There tends to be intense strain vs. strength in your conversations/interactions. Jim Collins, author of the book “Good to Great,” writes that the most successful organizations he studied were willing to have “Fist pounding board room meetings”-they are not afraid to put it all on the table and debate hard. But it was healthy debate about ideas, what wasn’t working, etc. At the end of the interaction, they are stronger for it. If that is not the case, and you are feeling more strain than strength when you walk out of your interactions with the person, then strike #1.

2. Intensity – The intensity of your conversations increases in each interaction. It used to be that when you got together, the tone and energy in the room was heavy and forceful, but that heat wasn’t full throttle the entire time. It didn’t feel like every interaction was an intense bomb. So not only is the strain present (pushing and pulling more than a dance), but the intensity (vibration, octave) has increased. For example, the intensity used to rise in the beginning of the meeting, but now it has escalated to the entire meeting – and then some. If this is the case, strike #2.

3. Frequency – The strain and intensity is more often than not. It’s become the norm vs. the exception. In the past, you would have a hiccup, blow up or meltdown, but that used to be once per week; now it has gone from twice a week to a full week or more with the strain and intensity always present. If this is the case, strike # 3.

It really is this simple; if you are seeing these three signs, it is time to fire (or resign) and move on. If you need help with replacing someone in your firm, email us at to schedule a complimentary 30-minute “Smart Hire™ Diagnostic” call to help determine how to hire the right person for the right role. If you aren’t sure whether it’s time to let go, email us to schedule a 30-minute complimentary Smart Fire Solution Process™ call to help you determine if it’s time to let go or if your problem might be an issue of training or of the right person in the wrong role.

By Molly Hall

THE fix my boss workBOOK



This workbook is intended to be used in conjunction with the book, "Fix My Boss" to cultivate respect, risk courageous conversations, and increase the bottom line. The exercises and activities provided will guide you through a step-by-step process of understanding, analyzing, and taking action to create positive change in your workplace.

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