Donald Trump's tagline: "You're fired."

Last week I raised the question of whether being a Christian businessperson means you do some things differently, and particularly whether some of these things that are done differently have to do with terminating an employee.

Here’s a snip of what Kenman Wong and Scott Rae say in their recent book, Business for the Common Good:

Although periodically companies may take on certain employees as an act of benevolence, it is not the norm. Employees are bound by mutual obligations to the company, and when they do not live up to them, leaders are not being unjust or unfair in holding them accountable and firing them if necessary. Of course, servant leaders will work with employees at risk and attempt to redeem the relationship. But if the employee must be let go, the leader will give a truthful reason for termination, provide input to the employee so that a pattern does not repeat itself with the next employer, and treat the person with dignity and respect throughout the entire process.

You may not be doing someone a favor by keeping them on in a position that is not a good fit, or which does not challenge them appropriately or help them to develop themselves and maximize their own potentialities. As Wong and Rae continue, “Remember, people need to accomplish something significant and in a way that fits their gifts. Serving them best may involve letting them go so they can find a more suitable place to develop and contribute.”

As for the propriety of prayer in these contexts, it seems obvious to me that the employer should be praying for the well-being of his employees, and vice versa, throughout this entire process and beyond. It would take the application of insight into a particular situation to determine whether a prayer with the employee at the time of termination would be appropriate or not, however, and the content of the prayer would need to reflect the dynamics of power that are apparent in the context of the termination of employment.


  • Nikonluc

    It is hard for me to believe, but I think you just said it is appropriate to fire someone who’s position “which does not challenge them appropriately or help them to develop themselves and maximize their own potentialities.”

    I want and hold an easy job.  I get paid well for doing it, it is not particularly challenging and I know I can do more, and I have.  I used to hold a director level position, but I chose a less stressful path with less responsibility.  My management  thought they were mentoring me for a CISO position and thought I could do it, but I don’t want that.

    So I should be let go?

    • http://www.jordanballor.com/ Jordan Ballor

      I wasn’t speaking in absolutes, so the particulars of your individual situation may be quite different. So it’s not clear there is always and in every case a moral obligation to fire someone if their job “does not challenge them appropriately or help them to develop themselves and maximize their own potentialities.”

      In some cases, though, a person might really hate their job and it might really be bad for them to stay in it, but they would never leave on their own, for all kinds of reasons. In such cases letting someone go might be an act of love rather than something immoral.

      You have to decide for yourself whether your current job is in Wong and Rae’s words, a “suitable place to develop and contribute,” or perhaps even whether those are relevant considerations.

      • Nikonluc

         But again, I’m going to ask:

        If someone hates their job, but isn’t causing a problem for me and is doing great at it and wants to stay, it it my moral obligation to let that person go?

        It would seem to me that the only time I was obligated to let someone go is if their performance was not up to par.  I have let someone go before.  I have also given people chances to come up to par and been successful with it.

        I should not be firing someone because I think they aren’t being challenged or I think they need a suitable place to develop.

        Why isn’t the person who hates their job, yet has good performance, the one who is obligated to get their life together?  How is firing that person for their own good any better that government telling me what to eat/providing health care/etc…for my own good? 

        Wong is saying exactly that, if they aren’t up to par, let them go.  I would say Wong sometimes is wrong in this statement “Remember, people need to accomplish something significant and in a way
        that fits their gifts. Serving them best may involve letting them go so
        they can find a more suitable place to develop and contribute.”  People don’t NEED to accomplish something significant.

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