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If you fire the people who deserve to get fired you actually increase morale.

That's not necessarily true. Office politics matter. If you fire popular people - even if they are under-performers - then it will hurt morale.

Firing is always messy business. It's a good idea to avoid it unless it is absolutely necessary.

Agreed. However, I'm running a business, not a social club.

If I have a few bad apples (the lazy, self-entitled employees of a previous post) and they're not responding to being held accountable, the whole staff needs to know I will use all tools available.

Frankly, if you manage properly, there's very little firing you have to do. Most bad employees, when they see you hold people accountable, will find another job. The only ones who stick around are the one's who are holding out for unemployment.

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