In the business world effective leaders sometimes need to give their employees a pink slip when they aren't performing well or making a meaningful contribution. Likewise, you may need to fire your friends if they aren't living up to their end of the job. Of course you always want to give people a chance to improve their performance. But after a candid conversation and a little time -- if your friend doesn't shape up -- it might be best to let 'em go:
Bad employees keep a company from reaching it's maximum potential. Bad friends are the same way -- they can hold you back and tarnish your sparkle.
Here are six signs it may be time to fire a friend so you can keep rocketing to the top of your game:
1. No effort. If you showed up to work dimwitted day in and day out, and didn't put any energy into the job, you wouldn't last very long. If you have a friend who never or rarely steps up to maintain your relationship then odds are they never will. Are you always the one initiating plans with them? Do they show up to support you when you ask them to? While people obviously have their own lives and are not there to be your personal cheerleader all the time, there's a happy medium between unrealistic expectations and apathy.
2. Lacks commitment. It's easy to be excited about a job in the early stages, but over time, after months spent listening to Bob in the neighboring cubicle clear his phlegmy throat, it can be harder to maintain enthusiasm for your 9 to 5. Still, if you do right by them, loyal employees and true friends don't disappear after the honeymoon phase is over. They're in it for the long haul -- even when life hits a snag.
3. Not a team player. "Me! Me! Me!" personalities are constantly pursuing their own agendas instead of the company's. Similarly, some of your friends may want to make it all about them -- all the time. Every win you have feels like a loss for them. Instead of applauding your success they envy it. No matter the scenario, they try to turn the attention back to them. But both parties have to get something of value out of the relationship or it's a lose-loser proposition.
4. Drains your resources. There's no room in most business environments for waste. That's why employees who squander resources don't last very long. If someone consistently causes you to feel drained and stressed, try to figure out what you can do to make the relationship more fulfilling. If you can't turn it around, limit the amount of time you spend with that person (preferably while they are asleep) or kick them to the curb entirely. Not all relationships are meant to last a lifetime!
5. Don't believe in the mission. If you aren't drinking the company Kool-Aid at least some of the time then you're standing in the way of success. The same thing goes for friends. They should believe in your abilities and want to help you achieve your dreams. Sure, they can and should question your desires sometimes, especially if it involves Vegas, tequila and a $99 wedding. That's what good friends do. Good friends also lift you up, they don't knock you down.
6. Can't handle change. If an employee can't keep pace with or move in the same direction as a business, he or she may not be a fit with the company culture. Similarly, friends who are intimidated by your success or constantly challenge your desire for improvement just may not share the same life philosophy as you. But by all means they should feel free to challenge you if you decide to grow out your armpit hair and dye it rainbow colored. Not all growth is good!
Be honest with your friends and communicate your concerns with them when they aren't living up to expectations. If their head is really in the friendship game, they'll likely step up and make some changes. But, over time, if they still aren't cutting it then don't be afraid to hand them that pink slip. Once you minimize or eliminate time spent with subpar friends, you'll have more energy left over to strengthen the bonds with your good friends, plus you'll make space for awesome new people to enter your life.
And don't forget to be honest with yourself about how you can improve your own friendship skills. We're all a work in progress.