Alan Sugar's doing it all wrong: Scientists reveal the best way to fire people

 
William Turvill
Follow William
Senior Figures Speak At British Chamber of Commerce Annual Conference
This is how Sugar should be doing it: "I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news: Unfortunately, we’re going to have to let you go. Please, take a seat and I’ll explain the situation to you" (Source: Getty)

Scientists have revealed the best way of firing employees and – surprise, surprise – Alan Sugar’s doing it all wrong.

The key, according to researchers from Saarland university in Germany, is to not be too aggressive when delivering bad news at work.

Read more: Not fired: Alan Sugar has just been made government enterprise tsar again

“As in so many areas of life, it’s not so much what you say, but the way that you say it that counts – even if you have to tell someone that they are being laid off,” the study, published on Science Daily, said.

“If a manager adopts an aggressive tone, the employee is far more likely to react to the bad news in a confrontational manner than in cases in which the manager takes time to explain the situation and the underlying causes.”

The study suggested “Mr Müller, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news: Unfortunately, we’re going to have to let you go. Please, take a seat and I’ll explain the situation to you” is a better approach than “Müller, you’re fired!”

Read more: How to make workers more productive without paying them more

The study’s lead author, Manuela Richter, explained that to carry out the research, the university carried out psychological role-playing exercises.

Splitting the study group into two, one half received training in how to communicate factually correct arguments and how to treat employees fairly. The other half was given no training. The first group performed better.

The study also discovered that those being laid off valued “fairness” particularly strongly.

Related articles