***WARNING*** This post is for mature leaders only.
All leadership is temporary. Sometimes it is the leader’s decision when to walk away. Sometimes the market will determine the length of your tenure because your business closes or position becomes obsolete. And sometimes, we are asked to walk away. We are fired.
This past Sunday, when Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio walked off the field, team owner Mark Davis pulled him aside and relieved him of his duties. He fired him.
In the video below you will see the post-game press conference where Del Rio announced his own termination. As he points out, there was no progressive discipline or previous conversations about his job status. Del Rio was completely blindsided.
What is most striking is how Del Rio handled this. I have never seen a leader handle such a bad situation with more dignity, class and grace than he did. What a quality human being! In this dark moment, Jack Del Rio forever provided a template on how a leader should handle being fired.
The following are 10 Lessons on How a Leader Should Handle Being Fired from the Jack Del Rio post-game press conference. All the quotes below are his.
- When Being Fired, Leaders Should Accept Responsibility – “Opportunities and lack of production are not good enough.”
- When Being Fired, Leaders Should Be Disappointed – “That’s what our year was. It was disappointing.”
- When Being Fired, Leaders Should Appreciate All The Good They Did – “He told me he loved me and appreciated all I did to get this program going in the right direction.”
- When Being Fired, Leaders Should Be Grateful for the Opportunity They Had – “I told him how much I appreciated the opportunity he gave me… Very grateful.”
- When Being Fired, Leaders Should Seek to Understand Why – “It’s a results business. I understand that.”
- When Being Fired, Leaders Should Appreciate the Contributions of Their Teammates – “I appreciate the players and coaches and all the hard work, all the effort and energy.”
- When Being Fired, Leaders Should Still Leave the Organization Better Than They Found It – “I do believe we have established a solid nucleus. I believe whoever comes in has a chance to take that nucleus and go to special places.”
- When Being Fired, Leaders Should Continue to Cheer on the Organization – “I’ll be pulling for them.”
- When Being Fired, Leaders Should Honor the Decision – “I honor the owner’s decision.”
- When Being Fired, Leaders Should Learn From Failure and Then Move on to Their Next Opportunity – This was not brought up in the press conferences but I know Del Rio will learn from this failure and then move on to his next opportunity. He is a competent, class individual who will be an asset to any program who hires him.
What is one thing about being fired you learned from Del Rio’s press conference?