Humans 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:
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:
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.
Head of Training and Development
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Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.