In the first episode of “Saturday Musings With Denyse Whillier,” I discuss the right and the wrong way to fire staff, drawing on the (admittedly rather extreme) case study of Donald Trump's White House. Saturday Musings: A Right Way & A Wrong Way To Fire Staff

Last week, Trump fired Rex Tillerson and Andy McCabe in the most embarrassing and egregious manner. Meanwhile rumours have been swirling in the media about who will be next. H.R. McMaster, Jeff Sessions, John Kelly - or Trump’s arch-nemesis, Robert Mueller?

I don’t have a crystal ball to tell you who’s going to be fired next. But based on my 25 years’ experience in senior management roles, 8 of which were as a CEO, I can tell you that these TV reality show firings will come back and bite Trump in the proverbial. Hard. This is not going to end well. Retribution will be swift, brutal and more often than not covert.

Why do I say this? Well, you don’t publicly sack and denigrate powerful people with the platforms, allies and networks of James Comey, Rex Tillerson and Andy McCabe without there being consequences.

As leaders and managers, there will be times when we have to let people go – for reasons of redundancy, under-performance or serious misconduct. But it can be done fairly, discreetly and considerately.

In this first edition of Saturday Musings, I discuss:

  • Leadership maxims from my own mentors which I think are relevant when it comes to firing staff..
  • The kind of response/ backlash you can expect if you handle a sacking badly.
  • Why I think these very public firings will backfire on Trump.
  • My top 7 tips for doing so fairly, with respect and dignity.

BTW, I wrote about the firing of James Comey in this article.


For those of you who are new to my work, I’m Denyse Whillier a former CEO turned business consultant, writer and speaker. I’ve more than 25 years’ experience of running businesses, mentoring leaders, leading large staff teams and managing multi-million pound budgets. I trained at Cranfield School of Management, the UK’s leading business school and am an accredited business mentor with the Institute of Enterprise & Entrepreneurship.

If you’d like to find out how I can help with your business growth strategy, you can download my brochure with details of my business coaching and mentoring services HERE. If you’d like to talk to me directly, simply e-mail me to arrange a ‘coffee chat.’

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