What are some tips for people in management roles to remember when giving corrective actions?
1. Corrective actions are proactive tools, not reactive. Give employees feedback (both good and bad) often. It's the only way they will learn what you expect of them. If you've become so frustrated that you're ready to terminate them, then you’ve done a disservice to both your employee and your practice.
2. Be clear. Often managers get frustrated because employees should know to or not to do something. Employees take cues from you on what is acceptable and not. Lack of information is often misinterpreted. For a year I thought I looked good in yellow for this very reason.
3. Something is wrong. No one comes to work hoping to screw up everyday. Whether the issue is a soft skill or hard skill, try to get an idea what the larger issues are. This is the only way for you to know if the problems are fixable or not.
4. Don't assume you know the problem. Often I find managers will guess what the issue is and try to give the employee training resources based on that guess. Ask questions because chances are you are not a mind reader. If you are a mind reader please call me, I would like to go to Vegas with you.
5. It's not all about you. Focus on the facts of the situation. This isn't the time for you to cite the dates and times your employee has annoyed you, personally wronged you, or driven you to drink.
6. Don't let your employee play the blame game. It's not fun, nobody wins, and I'm pretty sure everyone cheats. The employee needs to own their behavior and also needs to own the solution. Your job is to give them the tools they need to do this.
7. Don't be a squirrel. Often during the course of a correction action employees will try to sidetrack you with shiny objects. For instance, "Becky is stealing from the supply closet, so why are you bothering ME?" Stay focused! Have written notes if needed. If something pertinent comes up, investigate it afterwards.
8. Speaking of written notes, there are times for verbal warnings and times for more formal discussions. Both need to be documented. In the eyes of the law (lawyers), it never happened if it wasn't documented.
9. This is not a game of point/counterpoint. You are the manager. State the issues and the changes needed. Period.
10. Be very clear about what needs to happen next. Put the earnest on the employee to change and seek your help when needed. Set a timeline for touching base often as a way to gauge improvements.