People are the lifeblood of any business organization. It’s safe to say that a company would not reach its full potential without its people.
Naturally, one of the major goals of the leadership team is to motivate their best people to stay. And there are a lot of factors that make professionals want to stay with their employer for the long term.
We’ve compiled them in this handy guide, and each week we’ll be outlining the best steps you can take to sustain each factor.
FACTOR 7 – DISCIPLINE
Step 1: Criticize them constructively.
The purpose of criticism and discipline is not to put anyone down after they do something wrong, but to help them learn how to do things right.
Your best option when approaching criticism, therefore, is a problem-solving approach: focus on guiding the offender to correct their mistake and prevent it from happening again. Identify their fault without fixating on it, and encourage them to own it and take action to make things right.
Not only would you be instilling a sense of accountability in your people, you’d also be assuring them that you’re critiquing them because you want genuine improvement and are not merely playing a “blame game”.
Step 2: Discipline them appropriately.
Even in the universal definition of discipline, it is a basic principle to balance the penalty to the offense being penalized. Not only is this fair and just, it also prevents resentment from building up.
Your organization’s official code of conduct is your best friend. Use it to guide your deliberation of disciplinary cases so that the penalty applied will be proportional to the offense. And always be aware of the whole picture; strive to make informed decisions that take all factors into consideration.
Your employees will definitely appreciate this and be more inclined to believe in the fairness of your management strategy. After all, who doesn’t want to stay with an employer that knows how justice works?
Step 3: Allow them to correct mistakes.
Implementing an effective and just discipline process involves accepting one crucial reality: mistakes cannot be undone, but they can be corrected.
As always, focus on what can still be done rather than what has already been done. In other words, focus on action. If you’re going to push your people to do something about their mistakes, might as well push them to do something corrective and preventive in nature. And of course, let them be the ones to take such action.
Give your employees the opportunity to act on the situations that they create. If you just make them take a back seat and put matters in your own hands, they’ll never learn to solve problems.
Step 4: Discuss alternatives.
So you’ve properly advised an offending employee of their violation of the code of conduct. You’ve secured their commitment to take responsibility for their fault, and explained what kind of disciplinary action they have to undergo.
What now? There has to be a discussion of the ways they can move forward, in order to take advantage of the situation as a learning opportunity. Take time to plot different responses they can make to their mistake along with the possible positive outcomes of those responses.
Then, collaborate with them to choose which of those responses will have the best benefits for everyone – the employee, their unit, and the organization. Doing it this way shows them that you’re focused on positive change that affects everyone, and that you’re willing to explore all the available angles to achieve that change.
Implementing just and effective practices for disciplining your employees forms a cornerstone of your people management strategy. They’ll be less likely to develop a detachment from the organization – or worse, think of leaving – because of unreasonable disciplinary action.
Show your employees that your brand of discipline is a force of positive change, and you’ll find that they will readily accept it. And of course, stay tuned in the coming weeks for more ways you can show your people that they matter!