• The former ExxonMobil CEO reportedly first learned of his firing when US President Donald Trump tweeted about it on Tuesday.
• National workplace expert Lynn Taylor said this mode of firing employees is unlikely to catch on for a number of reasons.
Rex Tillerson reportedly learned he was being booted from the Cabinet via Twitter.
US President Donald Trump tweeted out the news himself, writing: “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!”
The ousted Secretary of State is just the latest casualty of endless turnover in the White House. Trump told reporters he hadn’t discussed the decision much with Tillerson beforehand, Business Insider reported.
Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein, a top aide whose statement contradicted the White House’s account of Tillerson’s departure, was also let go, reported the Associated Press.
The Washington Post reported that Goldstein had said Tillerson was “unaware of the reason” he was being fired.
But the relationship between Tillerson and Trump has been “fraught” for some time, due to lingering tensions over Iran and North Korea, according to the Washington Post. Tillerson also recently broke with the White House by blaming Russia for the recent chemical attack against a Russian double agent in Britain.
It’s not the first time Trump has reportedly blindsided a subordinate. Former FBI Director James Comey reportedly learned of his dismissal from TV news coverage, and initially thought the footage was part of a prank.
This style of highly publicized termination is unlikely to catch on in the business world, however, according to national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job” Lynn Taylor.
She said that standard, in-person dismissals will likely continue to be the norm for the foreseeable future. That’s because social media is a two-way street when it comes to firing and hiring. It’s easier than ever to hang your employee out to dry on Facebook or Twitter, but humiliating and “blindsiding” subordinates with out-of-nowhere online sackings will scare away talent, Taylor said.
Basically, firing via tweet – or text, email, or phone call – will harm most companies in the long run.
“Companies are made up of people, and you’re only as good as your people in corporate America,” Taylor told Business Insider. “If you’re too transactional about your talent, it’ll be hard to attract good talent.”
Then again, Taylor added that the same isn’t necessarily true for the White House. The administration has faced hiring spats before, like the mass exodus from the State Department in January 2017. And Buzzfeed reports the White House is unlikely to stop hemorrhaging staffers anytime soon.
But it’s unlikely the president will be hard-pressed to find anyone to fill powerful, upper echelon positions like Cabinet posts.
“There may be a slightly different set of rules if you’re such a powerful figure in government,” Taylor said. “Companies have more to prove and more to lose compared to the president of the United States.”