How To Discipline A Member Of Your Team Without Getting Personal

chineese woman thinkingHumans are emotional beings, which means that when a manager must discipline a member of their team, emotions are flying high.

No one likes to hear negative feedback, which is why it is easy for a simple feedback session to turn personal and get nasty.

It is imperative that managers prepare to discipline employees in a professional manner which will not cause negative sentiment after the fact.

Read on to find actionable tips in disciplining a member of your team without getting personal.

Avoid Using “You” Statements

Anytime you utilise “you” statements in a conversation where you discipline an employee, things can get out of hand.

Avoid saying the following things:

  • You are always late.
  • You are rude.
  • You don’t get your work turned in on time.

All of this places the blame on the other party, and even if that is the case, no one likes to hear that.

Instead, use “I” or general statements, such as:

  • The team really suffers if our employees don’t come in on time.
  • Our corporate culture requires all workers to be respectful to one another.
  • I need projects turned in by due dates in order to be efficient with my planning.

Don’t Assign Labels

If you don’t want a situation to turn personal, never assign labels to the employee you are disciplining.

Even if you believe the person is rude, lazy, a gossiper or problem starter, abstain from saying it.

One theory presents that “the words we use to describe what we see aren’t just idle placeholders–they actually determine what we see.”

It’s dangerous to assign people a label based on an experience at work; one situation doesn’t characterise an entire human being, plus saying that label out loud can be hurtful and demeaning.

Instead of assigning labels, present the problem in a general way, citing the negative effect it’s having on the team.

Control Your Emotions

It can be extremely frustrating when you feel like your employees are simply not listening to you, or are not able to accomplish the simplest task.

You can look foolish in front of your own boss, miss a deadline that was important to a client or have to spend your own time redoing a project just because a member of your team was not able to do it properly.

You may feel upset, hurt or angry about the situation, but it is important to curb those emotions when approaching the individual.

You must control your own emotions and appear professional and calm during the conversation.

Although it is important to present the fact of what occurred and how the issues impacted the team, if you get angry, the situation will quickly turn personal.

Thanks again

Mark Williams

Head of Training and Development

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 24 October, 2017

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