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Disciplining Fairness Feedback Communication Coaching Listening Expectations

As part of my job as a supervisor, I am supposed to discipline employees for breaking the rules and committing other infractions at work. I do not like confrontations, and this aspect of the job has me worried. What are the ways to discipline employees without having a confrontation?

It is not difficult to conduct disciplinary sessions with employees, provided that you have disciplined yourself to do so in a well-prepared, productive, open, fair, and constructive fashion. If you go into a session expecting a confrontation, that is precisely what you will find.

When an employee needs to be disciplined, it is important to provide the feedback as close to the questionable behavior as possible. Keep in mind that you will fare better if you envision yourself as a coach, rather than as a disciplinarian.

Base the discussion on the individual's specific behavior and clearly express the ways in which it was unacceptable, along with the consequences if such behavior persists. At the same time, be sure to listen to the employee's side of the story.

Let the employee suggest some methods to improve his or her behavior in the future, and you can then provide more guidance as to the specifics. Be sure to document the session and ask for the employee's signature. Wrap up the discussion with positive expectations, and give the employee positive feedback when these expectations are met.

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