Well, I would like to hope that I never get that “opportunity.” Then again, I don’t like hiring people or deciding who should and shouldn’t be hired.
If I ever did have to fire someone, depending upon the circumstances, I think the best way would be to get them fired up about leaving. Commiserate on how bad the environment is, that they don’t seem to be enjoying their work, and point out how much happier they would be in some other career. Discuss with them the things they don’t like where they are and how they think they are perceived by there co-workers, including me. Hint that their days may be numbered at the current place of employ. Help them decide what they are good at and motivated to do. Either they will decide to leave on their own or they will shape up their act. (OK, that is a false dichotomy. Realistically they may do neither, in which case, and as gently as possible, I would state that they have been fired, what points–in my opinion–they need to keep in mind at their next wonderful and exciting career, and wish them luck.)
Accuse me of sappy idealism, if you will! I care not! Like it or lump it, we have formed a relationship with those we work with and at times to whom we are the bearers of the news that that relationship is about to embark upon new and uncharted waters. Each of us is a human being and upon that count requires of us that others be treated with dignity. (This sounds a lot more sappy and fluffy than are my intentions for it to sound. Basically I mean that we help when and how we can, offer guidance if it is appropriate, because we are all in this together. I don’t mean that they shouldn’t be fired, or that you have to agree with them and do everything in your power not to hurt their feelings. Stuff (that is Life) happens. But I do mean that we should try not to humiliate or embarrass them. If it needs doing, God’ll see to it, and in a way that will be for their benefit (even they don’t believe it at the time–trust me, I know from first hand experience).)
For those unacquainted with Tristram Shandy and other works of the on-another-digression-ilk, Yes!–those are parenthetical remarks within parenthetical remarks. No apology is offered.