Effective Employee Discipline Skills

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Managers and supervisors deal with employee matters almost everyday at workplace. A great deal of time and effort is spent on addressing employee concerns, needs and disciplinary issues. As such managers and supervisors need to develop appropriate relationship skills in order to build appropriate relationships at work place.

One of the task and managers and supervisors is to deal with employee disciplinary matters. When an employee’s behavior is in conflict with the organization’s regulations and rules that governs it’s operations. Often in many in cases, the first person to investigate, gather evidence and address the behavior is the immediate supervisor or manager. If the issue can be addressed at their level they make the decision and otherwise if it’s serious and beyond their delegated authority, they can refer the matter to higher authority within the organization.

Dealing with employee’s disciplinary case requires skills. By default, implicated employees normally put the manager or supervisor to the organization’s side regardless of any relationship they have as work colleagues. This requires effort from the manager to make ease the tension and set the focus to the problem that needs to be addressed.

Be calm, objective and serious.

When dealing with employee disciplinary cases, the managers need to remain calm. Body language can signal wrong messages. Remaining clam, relaxed and composed puts the employee at ease to start discussions.

Then let the employee/s know the seriousness of the issue by avoiding using appropriate tone of voice. Don’t crack jokes and make it a small talk. Employees feel that the manager is exercising his/her authority of the position.  Dealing with disciplinary matters is not an easy think so avoid anger, or other emotional responses and the convey message in a calm but serious tone.

Be specific about the problem and have the documents to support.

Don’t describe the problem in a general sense. Be specific about the problem or the behavior  and present the evidence of it, as well as any documents that clearly defines it. For example, if an employee violated an organization’s policy on certain matters, then policy document should be presented. If it’s a specific event, then give the time, date, place and individuals involved and any relevant evidences surrounding the incidence.

Explain why the behavior cannot be continued and how it effects other employees, the specific unit or the organization as a whole.

Separate the individual from the problem.

Although it involves the person, the discuss should focus on the problem rather than the person. For example, if the employee violates workplace safety standards, discuss the potential risk the behavior is posing on safety of the employees and organization’s assets like buildings and etc instead of criticizing person for being irresponsible.

Always allow the employee to explain his/her position.

Listening is one of the great skills a manager can deploy such situations. Listen as much as possible and allow the employee to present his/her position on the issue. There could be underlying issues that is causing this behavior. Give the employee the opportunity explain his/her position on the regardless of how small or big the case is. By just listening the manager can pick up discrepancies in the evidence or circumstances  presented initially. If need be more information can be gathered to establish the facts.

Don’t create a position of equals

In the process of o discussion, don’t loose control. In order to encourage open dialogue, managers might end up creating a position of equals. This does not work in administering disciplines. Because violators are prone to use any opportunity to put the manager on the defensive. If the manager does not take control the , the violator will. Discipling is an authority based act. The manager is enforcing the organizations standards and regulations, so he/she has to take control.

Get the facts and allow the employee to tell his or her story but the employee should not interrupt the manager from the objective.

The employee must agree to prevent such incidence in the future.

Disciplining should include guidance and direction for correcting the problem. Let the employee  state what he/she will do to prevent such incidences in the future. If the behavior is serious, the employee should  show some commitment to change so he/she can be assisted by putting in place plans to change the behavior. Set a timetable and follow-up meetings to monitor progress.

Apply the appropriate disciplinary action

Appropriate punishments should apply depending the case and severity of it. Typically, progressive disciplinary actions can be take. For example, in the first instance a verbal warning, and on repeated instance a written reprimand, suspension, demotion or pay cut and etc. And in serious cases dismissal.

Each individual is different so by considering his/her past offence records, severity of the problem, past punishments to applied  and etc. must be considered and then  apply the appropriate measure.