As consultants, Mark, Sheila, Dr. Varani and I are frequently asked how to handle disciplinary issues ranging from performance related situations to occurrences of insubordination. Regardless of the infraction, the key is to enforce policies, protocols, and expectations set forth by ownership and management while holding your team accountable. This makes for a better performing team, a consistent respect for authority, and the removed likelihood of favoritism or discrimination. Discipline can be a challenge and a struggle for those in management; the following tips will assist those in authoritative positions who find this imperative part of management an obstacle.
Per US Legal, Inc., in employment law, disciplinary action is a process for dealing with job-related behavior that does not meet expected and communicated performance standards. The primary purpose of discipline is to assist the employee to understand that a performance problem or opportunity for improvement exists. Unfortunately, “disciplinary action” often carries a negative connotation. If you approach it with the mindset that you are assisting your employees in uncovering an opportunity, maybe this will prevent the uneasiness that often surrounds these meetings. Let them know that if you did not feel there was an opportunity for improvement, you would not invest the time and energy to assist them.
Knowing how to present disciplinary action is also a question that we are frequently asked. You must follow what your disciplinary policy states in your employee handbook. If you do not have a statement or policy, it is highly recommended that you add one. This document is an example and can be used as a recipe of sorts. It provides a step-by-step process for implementing and enforcing disciplinary actions.
You owe it to your employees to assist them. Not doing so will create a culture in which employees are unmotivated to meet (let alone exceed) expectations, professionals who are not conducting themselves as such, frustration towards management, and a lack of respect for authority. You owe it to yourself and to your team to prevent this from taking place within your practice. Whether your team acknowledges it or not, they want leadership that holds them accountable and assists them when they fall short. Your employees want to be the best they can and it’s the job of management and leadership to invest the time and energy in helping them achieve this goal.