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Your Fired!


Studio Owner Article


Improve Staff and Customer Communication

Yes, that line has been made a bit more famous by Donald Trump on the apprentice but in the real world it may be the single hardest thing to say to an employee. If you have owned your studio for a while you may have already had to experience this unpleasant task. It may be that you are considering doing it right now!

Whatever the case it will have to be done at some point and the one thing that I have found most people are guilty of, including me, is waiting too long before taking action. I am not suggesting that you do not try to work things out with an employee, especially if they bring value to your business, but once your relationship with them or their behavior really starts to go south you should act quickly and decisively. Any time someone tries to disrupt your business then they must go! If you wait, you will regret it.

 In the twenty one years that we have had our business we have seen just about everything, from coming to work intoxicated, contacting students behind our backs or soliciting our clients. We have experienced faculty not showing up and not giving us any notice that they did not plan to be in to teach and of course every studio owner's favorite one, showing up LATE!!!!!! The list goes on and on. We have at various times tried to work things out and give them another chance, only to be stuck again. A business coach once told me, "you should be slow to hire and quick to fire" I must say, that is the best advise I can pass on to you.

One of the problems is that in our type of business we all have a tendency to get close to our teachers and staff. This makes pulling the trigger even harder. One of the things we are also concerned with is losing a popular teacher. The longer you let a bad situation linger the more it will pull you and your business down. We once had to fire two teachers during the months of April and May. This was a real issue with only two months left in the semester. Looking back it was the best thing we could have done. I just wished we had done it in March when the problems first came to our attention. Nobody wants to have this kind of problem thrust upon them and then to have to deal with the aggravation. I can assure you that in this kind of situation if you wait, you will probably have more and greater problems to deal with down the road. The other concern studio owners always have is that if you fire a faculty member they will teach for your competition or open their own place and try to steal your students. The reality of it is, that even if this happens you won't lose that many students and if you do you may be better off without those clients. People who tend to follow a teacher after they leave one place usually are the ones that are always looking for greener pastures.

Firing someone is never a pleasant thing to do but it is part of being a business owner. I would like to think that for the most part we have done a good job at hiring as we have only had to fire a very few people in the twenty one years we have owned our business. If and when the time comes to fire someone it is a good idea to make the split as amicable as possible. Try to take the high ground and get through the process as quickly as possible. There will always be some type of damage control that you will need to institute with your clients. If you are calm and fully prepared for this type of situation you will come across as in control. As long as your clients see that they will be happy to continue on with you. I never like to bad mouth the person that I have had to fire. I think it is best just to let it be known that it was in the best interest of your business. These things usually have a certain shelf life, after that time they will just dry up and blow away. In closing, when the time comes and you get that feeling that it is no longer going to be a workable situation, have a meeting and deliver the "Your Fired" speech. Then quickly move on, once you do so your students, staff and parents will too!


Steve Sirico

Steve Sirico

Steve is co-founder of Dance Teacher Web the number one online resource for dance teachers and studio owners worldwide.He is Co-Director of the very successful D'Valda and Sirico Dance and Music Center in Fairfield, CT for the past thirty plus years. His students have gone on to very successful careers in dance, music and theater. Originally from Norwalk, Ct, Steve excelled in track and football. He attended the University of Tennessee at Martin on a sports scholarship. Deciding to switch and make his career in the world of dance, he studied initially with Mikki Williams and then in New York with Charles Kelley and Frank Hatchett. He has appeared in a number of theatre productions such as Damn Yankees, Guys and Dolls and Mame in New York and around the country and in industrials and television shows. He was contracted to appear as the lead dancer in the Valerie Peters Special a television show filmed in Tampa, Florida. After meeting Angela DValda during the filming they formed the Adagio act of DValda & Sirico appearing in theatres, clubs and on television shows such as David Letterman, Star Search and the Jerry Lewis Telethon. In 1982 they were contracted to Europe and appeared in a variety of shows in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Italy before going to London, England where they appeared as Guest Artists for Wayne Sleep (formerly of the Royal Ballet) in his show Dash at the Dominium Theatre. Author of his Jazz Dance syllabus and co-author of a Partner syllabus both of which are used for teacher training by Dance Educators of America, He has also co-authored two books one for dance teachers and one for studio owners in the "It's Your Turn" Book series. He is available for master classes, private business consulting and teacher training development

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