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It Is as Personal as It Gets

"Don't take it personally, it is only business." Really? 90% of firing I have seen in my life were not related to competence for the role, but it was about the mismatch of personalities.


So why exactly should people not take it personally?


I am not talking about unacceptable behaviour or not meeting the requirements of the behaviours listed in the competency framework (although that is the greatest mistake as those prove no performance). I am talking about (s)he doesn't like him/her, and now we must find a reason to move that person out.

When questions are asked, there is no evidence of low performance, no evidence for performance expectations, or measurement of performance.

We just randomly decided that the person is not performing, and it is all about "You know it is not working out" or "wrong culture fit," whilst we tell people to "come as you are" and "be you".


When will be the time when we won't fire people based on our dislike or personality differences? When will be the time when we don't fire people based on who they are?


When will be the time when we have intellectually and emotionally mature adults in organisations who can manage their feelings and emotions, able to put them aside and focus on getting the job done even with the person they dislike?


When will we understand that people are different, and those differences can benefit organisations if we know what we do with them?

If one can only work with people they like or have chemistry with, it is personal, highly incompetent, and unprofessional.

I remember, 20 years ago, when I was a waitress, I had a waitress colleague we couldn't stand each other with. Guess what? Somehow, we worked exceptionally well together therefore, we requested to be scheduled on the same shift and next to each other's station.


Without talking to each other a lot (only work-related), we helped each other, worked together, shared the tasks and performed higher than the other five waitresses all together. When her station got busy, I helped her without being asked, and she did the same. We just looked at each other, and we knew who needed what, and we did it. We shared tips and said, "Well done," after a heavy shift.

If people cannot regulate their emotions and feelings about the other and focus on the job, they are not better than that five-year-old on the playground.

Work is full of people we don't like, but it shouldn't be an issue if we are there to get the job done and not to make friends.


Can we please stop firing people for who they are and instead focus on achieving results and getting the job done? That is what people are being paid for.

PS: I don't even know why we didn't like each other with that girl. I think we were extremely similar. I will never know, but I would work with her any time on any project. She is a real workhorse:-)


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