Dobbeck: Coach for skills, discipline for behaviors
Working with employees who just don’t "get it" can be frustrating. When this happens, the first reaction for many supervisors and managers is to issue written warning. In the long run, a written warning isn’t going to help the employee improve, instead, a written warning will probably intimidate someone who already is failing in their responsibilities.
Instead of rushing to judgment and "reacting," try a more pro-active approach. Use the opportunity to coach and develop the employee. By working out a step-by-step plan, you will begin to develop a more trusting relationship. Think about it. Would you rather work for a tyrant or a mentor?
Performance improvement plans (PIP) have several key components. They identify the "as is" and the "should be." They include a measurement to ensure the improvement has been made, a time frame for the end result and most importantly, action steps the employee can take to reach the objective. I use the acronym SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actions, Realistic and Timing). By including all five components, you are providing the employee with ideas he or she can implement to make the improvement. Most people really do want to do a good job and feel a sense of accomplishment when their work is improved.
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