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3 Keys to Successful School Leadership: Fire Well (2 of 3)

Posted by Grace Lee on May 23, 2013 2:35:00 PM

Dealing with an underperforming employee is inevitable. Evaluation and, if necessary, dismissal can be accomplished in a manner that is constructive for the person and the organization. Fire poorly, however, and you will create consequences that are expensive, demoralizing and disruptive.

Part Two in the 3 Keys to Successful School Leadership is Fire Well. This session features performance review and counseling techniques that build on the integrity of the organization to build a culture of high expectations and professional respect. Participants will also learn how to minimize the risks of conflict, and how to sustain momentum through a period of leadership transition.



If You Hire Well, You'll Fire Less

  • Talent Cycle: Recruiting, Engaging, and Evaluating
  • 20-60-20 Talent Assessment 
  • Talent Alignment: Mission, Culture, Strategies, and Position
  • Talent Cultivation: Coach, Communicate, Collaborate, Calibrate

What & How

What and How Chart

One tool to use for a coaching session with an employee is the What & How Chart. The employee can be given the opportunity to self-evaluate based on this chart, with an ensuing discussion around the gap between his/her self-preception and your perception as the supervisor of where this person is on the chart. The first priority is facing the reality of this performance gap, then deciding what can and should be done to create greater alignment.  

Teacher Evaluation

  • Student Engagement
  • Student Product
  • Student Assessment
  • Teacher Leadership

HR Processes

  • Performance data and records should be accurate and thorough to provide appropriate but not necessarily exhaustive support. Just enough.

  • Employment agreement and handbook should be current and reflect clear expectations.

  • Consider including a Non-compete paragraph and a Non-solicitation paragraph in your employment agreement.

Preparation for Termination Meeting

  • This meeting should always happen Face-to-Face, and never by email, phone, or letter.

  • The area for the meeting should be private and support your goal of confidentiality.

  • Prefer a day at the beginning of the week but at a time towards the end of the day.

  • Recommend having a witness present and having a separation agreement prepared.

Pre-Fire Communications

Plans for a termination should be shared in this specific order:

  1. Board and Advisers

  2. School Administrators

  3. Other supervisory levels at or above the person in question

The Termination Meeting

"We're going a different direction" is sufficient messaging because this isn't a coaching session. That opportunity is past. Stick to the facts--be brief, concise, and concrete. Own the decision, taking full responsibility.

Be prepared for situations where insubordination and physical threat is involved.

Use a collaborative approach when possible, engaging the person in the post-fire communication and transition plans.

Post Fire Communications

Again following this specific order because the sequence of your communications is extremely important to create value in these relationships:

  1. Board/Advisers

  2. Administration

  3. Faculty

  4. Parents

  5. Students

  6. Community

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