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HR Tip: Managing capability and incapability

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These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


Q: We promoted a man to a team leader position a few weeks ago, but it's just not working out. What can we do? Can we fire him?

A: You are dealing with a case of incapability so the first thing you should do is discuss the failings of the team leader with him and see if there is some way you can overcome them, for example by further training.

Often people have the technical skills required but lack sufficient confidence to exercise them and need strong support for a time. If your efforts fail then you should do all that you can to redeploy him. If ultimately that fails, you would be entitled to dismiss him on the grounds of incapability.

You should give this man as much help and tolerance as you can. Whether or not he applied for the job, you considered him suitable, therefore your judgement clearly was at fault. In future you should look carefully at your assessment and selection processes and also make it clear to people who are being promoted what is likely to happen if they fail. This way they will at least know what to expect.

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Annie Hayes

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