I was talking with an entrepreneur who recently had to make a difficult decision regarding an employee. He told me that he had to release the team member from his organization. He said, "While it was the right thing to do, it was heartbreaking for me to do it.” Another executive told me, "When letting people go becomes easy and stops causing my stomach to churn, I know it will be time to get out of this business.”
Many times we go into “all or none” behavior when hard decisions have to be made. Sometimes we may choose to delay or put ourselves in denial over making the hard calls. Other times we may choose to disassociate ourselves from our feelings and come across as hard, cold and indifferent. Both responses are poor.
As leaders, it is our responsibility to do the hard things the right way. Having empathy for others does not make us weak. It shows we have the strength to deal with a difficult situation directly but with respect for each and every individual. It takes character and discipline to make calls that we know will negatively affect a team member or a personal relationship in the way that displays humility and clarity.
Making hard choices is always difficult. When we choose to execute those tough calls with compassion we will make a difference.