For most project managers or business owners in the field of engineering, having work buddies is one of the most important traits to stay on harmonious working relationships. They should be able to always get along so no internal issues will arise, making favors and all. It’s not enough that they are friendly, some reach to becoming friends with their colleagues. But there will come a time that the bind will be abused, compromising the engineering work. To fire or not to fire is now the question.
If you are such project manager and the dilemma is that you have a buddy at work that already needs to go for some reason, will you say it to his face that he is fired?
While you’re taking a personal reflection on that question, my take is yes. Because it has to be done. If the reason is so grave and the work is at stake, the friendship needs to be tainted. But there are rules to firing a friend at work. Here are those:
You can only fire someone if you are the direct manager. If this applies to you, then good. All you need is the guts to say it on his face. If you don’t have any, might as well get out of project management.
You need a witness. Having another person while the termination is going on will help you in this case to have a witness. It could be the HR manager, a friend of yours, the supervisor, or any higher-ups. It cannot be a friend of the person you are going to fire.
Source: Team Coco
You have to be consistent in stating the reason on why your buddy is going to get fired. In case that your buddy will take the legal route in fighting for his employment, just say your reason as you did before. It might get messier than it already is if you change reasons.
A situation like this is never easy but the engineering manager has to deal with it. It’s the same as firing an employee because of his poor performance regardless of his connections – it just hurts to lose a friend in the company.