My number one rule for the workplace is: no surprises.
As a leader your job is to telegraph everything. To prep everyone for what’s coming – at all times. Your team, your boss, the customers. In your team, no one should ever be surprised by some kind of formal discipline, and especially not being fired. There should have been conversations big and small leading up to any action like that.
From the other side, the best employees warn of problems, are proactive about issues, keep the boss in the loop. And they telegraph when they’re unhappy and thinking about leaving.
Whatever happens in the workplace, especially some kind of job action, should feel overdue, and even obvious. The person being fired should know it and respond with “I guess I saw it coming”. The person getting a promotion should feel like “it’s about time”. And in the most functional teams, the boss should never be caught off guard.
Because in the workplace, the rule is: no surprises.