Why you should fire that superstar employee

The CEO of one of the world’s biggest tech companies talked about why firms should, in certain circumstances, fire a high-performing staff member

During a weeklong trip to Melbourne, Australia, founder and CEO of Twitter and Square, Jack Dorsey, spoke of why it was sometimes necessary to let top employees go.
 
“One of the things I learnt early, early on in Twitter is sometimes you have these people who are just superstars – they have all the right answers, they have all the skills and they’re amazing,” he said at a Square Talk Shop event in Federation Square.
 
If they are too negative in their attitude however, they won’t fit in with the company culture, he added. If they can’t provide a positive influence on others, it won’t work out.
 
“You tend to optimise for skills rather than recognising that the negative is actually dragging everything down.”
 
This, he noted, can be a crucial mistake as negative individuals tend to make work harder for others because of their attitude.
 
“No matter how good this person is, if they can’t bring a positive and optimistic attitude to their work you’re probably going to be slowed down.”
 
Dorsey recounted a moment from the early days of Twitter where he had to let go of certain superstar employees.
 
“That was really hard for me because we did have people that were just amazingly skilled, brilliant people but ultimately they were just super negative,” he said.
 
Although resistant at first, Dorsey realised that this decision then led to other more positive results.
 
“All this new leadership emerged and all this new positive energy emerged. It just unlocked all these interesting attributes in other people.”
 
Related stories:
 
When to fire a star-employee who’s lost their spark
 
How soon is too soon to sack that terrible new hire?
 
How to respectfully fire someone

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