When Is it OK to Reprimand Employees?
I suspect all of us have had bosses who have become extremely angry when things don’t meet their expectations. Unfortunately, some bosses lose control and reprimand employees in a demeaning way.
Maybe, you’re one of those bosses.
Generally, most angry outbursts by bosses are due to employee mistakes and miscommunications when processing jobs and/or services. However, in many, if not most cases, those mistakes and miscommunications are the bosses’ own fault.
Bluntly speaking, these angry bosses should look in the mirror to find the root cause, when errors keep recurring — BEFORE reprimanding employees.
Michael Gerber, author of the popular business book The E-myth, put it this way, regarding bosses/owners who just blame others when errors happen, “YOU are the problem, YOU have always been the problem, and YOU always will be the problem, until YOU change!”
In other words, Mr. Gerber contends that the cause of most employee mistakes and miscommunications are due to poor business systems.
Consider the words of W. Edwards Deming, a founder of the Continual Improvement Movement. He said, “Change has to start at the top!” and “Quality is determined by the TOP.”
Specifically, it is the responsibility of the owner/boss to give employees the RIGHT tools, in order to do their job correctly.
The Right Tools
To be certain, Quality Control Checklists, along with many other written documents, contained in a comprehensive operations manual, are TOOLS that ensure correct performance of jobs and services. For this reason, providing employees these tools for how the company operates, from opening until closing, is crucial. Lacking these tools is tantamount to sailing a ship without a rudder!
Sadly, some bosses/owners expect employees to read their minds concerning company operations and policies. Consequently, many bosses/owners never learn to delegate properly and, therefore, remain angry and frustrated. We have heard their complaints countless times, i.e. “Why can’t I find employees like me, who will do things the right way?”
So, When’s the Right Time to Reprimand Employees?
Simply stated, reprimanding an employee is justifiable when a boss/owner provides the RIGHT tools for employees to do their job, and the employee fails to use those tools correctly. In fact, the boss is remiss if he or she doesn’t reprimand employees for not adhering to company SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures), such as Quality Control Checklists.
Be cautioned — a reprimand should NOT be just verbal!
Thinking systematically, a reprimand should begin with a documentation system, i.e. a “System Buster” aka CAPA (Corrective Action – Preventive Action). More importantly, these systems (paper or digital) will track and provide a record to permanently FIX every business frustration encountered by bosses/owners and employees alike!
The good news is, it keeps ALL employees accountable.
To be sure, these systems — these TOOLS — are the “secret sauce” for building and scaling a business, systematically. Businesses that grow to national and worldwide prominence adhere to these types of systems. However, they are for businesses of any size that believe in GREAT service!
In our book, System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business, we detail the needed systems for bringing order to a company. More importantly, we share how to build those systems.
Did I mention? Great systems work?
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.