Women Are Tougher in HR
Believe me or not, I do think women are tougher when it comes to facing HR problems. Let me give you a real-life example. I was once the HR Director for an apartment construction and management firm in Arizona. Each time the VP of Construction had to fire a bulldog of a man working at one of his sites, he’d call me:
“Hey, I gotta let go Andy, he’s a brute and he just got caught stealing again!" He said.
“When is it going down?" I replied.
“He’s on his way over now to see you. I told him HR needed to see him." He tells me.
“Thanks" I mumble because I know this VP will be nowhere near my office when it’s time to let the 250-pound brute Andy go. He feared confrontation. Or, maybe he was actually afraid brute Andy would have punched him in the face if he fired him.
So in comes Andy—and he already knows what’s coming (in the earlier phone call the VP already gave me Andy’s hours due so I’ve got his final paycheck and termination form ready).
“Sit down Andy," I say.
“I’m being fired aren’t I?" He asks?
“Yes Andy," and I place three past written warnings he’s received for stealing job supplies in front of him. “We can’t condone this. We offered you a chance to pay the money back for stolen items and you are still taking company property from the jobsite."
“I got a wife and a kid on the way," He starts to tear up.
Here’s where women are tougher. I just sit there; hands crossed and let Andy have his say. He complains about the VP, he says his wife puts too much pressure on him. He says he has an ulcer and isn’t in good health. He tells me the company is unfair. He even tells me his mother-in-law hates him. When he’s done, I offer his final paycheck and termination form.
“If I could get you to read this termination form, provide any comments and sign the form.." I trail off.
Andy reads the form, makes no comments, signs it and takes his final paycheck. He rises to leave and I say, “You’ll receive a COBRA notice on your health insurance in the mail."
“Thanks," He mumbles and the session is over.
In the above scenario, I truly believe if it were a man firing the brutish Andy, shouting would have ensued because men have a hard time listening without reacting and that’s the key behind being great at terminating someone—just let them have their say and don’t react. No matter what they say. If you do react, the chances of name-calling or fisticuffs come into play and then follows the inevitable 9-1-1 phone call.