The primary purpose for disciplinary action is to assist the employee to understand that a performance problem or opportunity for improvement exists. The ideal in handling employee problems is to be firm, fair and consistent. However, a manager should follow a few guidelines to ensure that performance and productivity aren’t lost in the process.
5 Worst Discipline Mistakes
Listed below are the five (5) worst discipline mistakes that a supervisor can make followed by how to avoid them and how to seek alternative ways to a more productive work environment.
- Being inconsistent. Employees want to be treated fairly and consistency. They value this! If their behavior was unacceptable, this is a time for the employer to correct the behavior. The employer needs to be fair but firm and treat all employees the same who commit this same type of behavior. If not, as the employer, you lose control.
- Losing your temper. Don’t lose your cool especially in front of other employees or your customers/clients. You can potential lose the respect of others based on how you handle this situation. The unacceptable behavior may warrant losing your temper but it won’t benefit anyone in the long run. Take a deep breath and ask the employee to meet you in a private office. You can then calmly discuss why you are angry. State your expectations clearly and remember to document the meeting.
- Praising too little or too much. This is a double edge sword. Some supervisors fall victim to praising employees for little things such as just showing up for work. Yes, it is great that your employees report for duty but attendance is a basic requirement. On the flip side, there are supervisors who never say anything no matter what! This is just as bad since it may make employees feel like failures. A simple thank you goes a long way!
- Avoiding any disciplinary action entirely. Saying or doing nothing diminishes your effectiveness as a supervisor thus losing respect, and control over the productivity of your employees. When an employee has unacceptable behavior, it is your responsibility as the supervisor to do what you need to do as close to the action as possible. This will ideally correct the behavior and serve as an example to all employees.
- Playing Mr./Mrs. Nice guy/gal. Even though you want to be friendly with your employees, you must remember that you can’t step away from being the supervisor. As the supervisor, you must express expectations and correct inappropriate behavior.
No one is perfect and we have all made mistakes at one point in time. However, you must remember to be firm, fair and consistent in following the organizations policies and procedures. Think of disciplinary action as a way to correct unacceptable behavior and bring a positive change to the employee.
If you need guidance on how to discipline an employee or to verify if you are warranted (and legal) in taking disciplinary measures, please contact Mindi Brenner.