You know, there’s something to be said for the way Donald Trump does it on the Apprentice every week.
A team messes up and comes in second place. The leader is asked to account for what happened. If the leader can’t make a great case for why their subordinate is to blame in spite of development, direction and delegation, then logically the leader is to blame.
The failure may be due to a lack of development – the subordinate isn’t ready for responsibility. It may be due to lack of direction or relevant supervision or follow up – the subordinate doesn’t know the plan or doesn't know he doesn't know. In the worst case, it may be due to a lack of delegation – the micromanager who just can’t let go. Or too much delegation too soon - the macromanager who needs to get a grip.
In real life and beyond extenuating circumstances you get a second chance and a third chance. However, if a pattern of failure is evident, sooner rather than later somebody needs to hear the words “you’re fired”. The leader, after exhausting all reasonable options, either says it or hears it.
It’s not personal, it’s just business.