Correction and Encouragement

manager working with employeeBy Tiffany R. Smith

How do you reprimand a good employee? As leaders, we know good employees do bad things. The conundrum comes in how you correct bad behavior while still encouraging good.

We all make mistakes but some cause more detriment than others. And when this occurs, what do you do? One thing is for sure: We don’t do anyone any favors by sweeping the mistake under the rug under the pretense of, “well, everyone makes mistakes.” We must address the mistakes our “good” and “bad” employees make. We have to address these errors through coaching.

I believe the first time a mistake or accident occurs, it should be followed with a verbal coaching session. Take the opportunity to sit with the employee, address the concern, discuss how things should have occurred, and talk about corrective action. The hope is that they understand and avoid repeating the same mistake. That said, it is very possible that the same mistake or a similar one may reoccur. At this point, I recommend a written counseling/coaching session–same steps as before, but now with written documentation of the shortcoming. If it occurs again, progressive discipline is warranted.

It is important for leaders to help our followers by addressing their shortcomings and giving them realistic, reachable goals to improve upon going forward.

Tiffany R. Smith is director of PARC with the Parking Authority of River City, Ky.