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Executive Management Techniques: Disciplinary Measures
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Executive Management Techniques: Disciplinary Measures - Executive Leadership Articles

Executive Management Techniques: Disciplinary Measures

Executive Leadership Articles

Executive Management Techniques: Disciplinary Measures

Whether you are a new or seasoned Executive Leader, understanding that discipline is meant to improve and “rehabilitate” bad behavior is important. Discipline is not meant to punish an employee (although the employee may view the action as such), but to send a clear message regarding acceptable versus unacceptable behaviors in the work place. Approaching discipline as a way to rehabilitate behavior is a positive way to approach the employee (except when the behaviors are so egregious immediate dismissal is required). Discipline is meted out for bad behaviors such as theft, insubordination, hostile work environment, being drunk on the job, etc. It is crucial to note that incompetence in performing the employee's assigned duties and responsibilities is NOT normally addressed through the disciplinary arena.

Executives may learn new methods or build upon their experiences, but rarely do they relish the task of disciplining a staff member—nor should they! Often, Executive Leaders will find themselves being too harsh or too lenient; others may struggle with which disciplinary actions to take and the best way to inform the party being reprimanded. In our article, “Disciplinary Measures,” we will discuss two high-level examples of disciplinary options open to Executive Leaders and what they communicate to the staff member being disciplined. Although you may rarely have to resort to the below, both actions serve to illustrate each company’s perception of the severity of the transgression and what their disciplinary measures communicate.

Situation: a staff member makes a racial slur in the workplace.

  • Reaction 1: Company 1’s Executive team, after consultation with their Human Resources Department, decides to issue a written reprimand and requires that the employee donate a full month’s pay to the company.
  • Reaction 2: Company 2’s Executive team, after consultation with their Human Resources Department, decides to issue a 30-day suspension without pay.

What each disciplinary measure communicates to the employee. Although these two actions may seem similar, they communicate two very different things:

  • The Executive Leaders at Company 1 chose to set the bar low for all future incidents because the disciplinary action would be the written reprimand (lenient compared to suspension) rather than the donation of pay. The reprimand, rather than the donation, would go in the employee’s official file and follow her throughout her career.
  • The Executive Leaders at Company 2 chose to demonstrate that they were both prepared to offer strict consequences and that they took the employee’s transgression seriously because the disciplinary action was to issue a 30-day suspension without pay. This suspension would then go in the employee’s official file and follow her throughout her career.

These are by no means the only two disciplinary options available, and in fact an Executive Leader might choose to move straight to termination. Regardless of which action you choose to take, based on the situation and the severity of the transgression it is imperative that you be mindful of the precedent you will be setting for all future employee violations and precisely what your actions will communicate to not only the employee being disciplined, but the rest of your staff as well.

 

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Executive Management Techniques: Disciplinary Measures - Executive Leadership Articles

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