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The Fear of Firing: What is the True Cost?


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No one enjoys having to fire an employee. 

In most cases it’s uncomfortable and unpleasant to have to let someone go, especially if they didn’t do anything “wrong.”

But hanging on to a team member who’s not the right fit for your center’s vision and values can have some serious consequences… maybe more than you realize.

In the case of Janine, a Schools of Excellence Owner’s HQ member, her reluctance to fire a toxic team member impacted her health and wellbeing. 

Janine was an owner who had what I like to call a “toxic genius” on her team. 

This team member was smart, reliable, great with kids and parents—everything you could want in an employee—but she also had a habit of stirring up gossip and putting others down.

Janine was torn about what to do. On the one hand, she knew the team member was negatively impacting her center.

But on the other, she had just opened up a fourth location and barely had the capacity to deal with her usual responsibilities—let alone go through the process of firing someone.

But instead of delegating the responsibility to her team member, a director, Janine insisted that she had to be the one to do it.

So, month after month passed by, and Janine continued to sit with the same dilemma. It wasn’t just her mind, though, that suffered from her inaction. She developed high blood pressure and couldn’t sleep more than 3 hours a night.

After an entire year of worsening health problems, I finally asked Janine: “When is enough, enough? When will you realize what you’re losing by not letting this person go?”

If reading this reminds you of someone on your team, I want to ask you the same question

When is enough, enough? How long will you wait in the name of avoiding discomfort before you take action for the sake of yourself and your team?

So, what happened with Janine when she finally faced the truth?

She took accountability, let go of the toxic genius, and for the first time in a long time, she slept straight through the night.

In this week’s podcast episode, the first in a three-part series on firing, I explore the true cost of hanging on to team members when it’s time to let go.

Join me for a conversation about:

  • The top 3 reasons we fire employees (HINT: It’s not just about performance)
  • The impact of keeping someone who needs to leave
  • Why we have to prioritize ourselves and our team’s wellbeing
  • Action steps to take if you’re struggling with letting someone go


Resources and links mentioned in this episode:

Making a difficult decision like deciding when to say goodbye to a team member is a lot easier when you have support. Our Director’s Inner Circle and Owner’s HQ membership programs are the perfect place to build a community of like-minded leaders who can help you when things get tough. Plus, as a member, you’ll also gain access to tools, resources, and coaching that can help you as you work toward building a school of excellence.
If your center is dealing with the aftermath of letting a team member go, you might be a good fit for a Leadership Day Intensive. You’ll get a full day of on-demand, in-school training with me, plus months of accountability check-ins to help you and your team transform your center by building an even stronger, healthier culture.

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More about the show:

If you are an Early Childhood director or owner, prepare to transform your school and life with the Schools of Excellence podcast. Tune in each week to learn from Chanie Wilschanski, the founder and host of the Schools of Excellence Podcast and a mom of 4 little kids. Each episode will be packed with tools and strategies – equipping you to build schools with higher staff retention, teacher motivation, parent partnership, collaborative culture, and beautiful quality of life.

Every week, Chanie shares the truth about the journey to excellence, the strategies that are working TODAY, and the mindset about the critical decisions and choices that you make every day which impact yourself, your teachers, parents, family, and children who you serve every day.

In addition to weekly solo episodes, she’ll also be inviting industry leaders and the changing makers of the landscape of education to give listeners the inside knowledge of what it takes to sustain excellence.

Don’t miss an episode, subscribe today for everything you need for your leadership journey!