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Quick Tips

Discipline & Performance Problems by Robert Bacal

Summary: Grappling with employee discipline and performance problem issues? Here are seven short tips on how to manage employee discipline, and to prevent discipline and performance issues from getting out of control.

1. Never procrastinate with a performance problem. If you don't address the issue when it arises, staff will question whether you are doing anything at all.

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2. When talking to an employee about a problem, phrase your comments in terms of preventing the problem from recurring. Use the inappropriate performance as a jumping off point, indicate why it is problematic, and then quickly move on to preventing re-occurence. This moves the focus from blame to improvement.

3. Whenver possible, elicit the employee's suggestions about how to prevent the problem from recurring. Put the responsibility for suggesting solutions with the employee. When possible, help the employee implement their solution.

4. Make it clear that your comments pertain to behaviour or performance, and not the person. Restrict your comments to particular instances of inappropriate performance and avoid inferring cause (lazy, uncaring, incompetent).

5. Remember that to improve problem performance it is often necessary to "drive out fear". Some think that putting the fear of God into employees will spur them on to better performance. Fear is more likely to reduce performance, loyalty and effort.

6. If you never recognize effective performance, and do not praise those who perform well, you will not be effective in dealing with problem performance.

7. Above all, remember that even the best of employees will find a discussion about inappropriate performance to be unpleasant. Some will take it personally, some will not. Be prepared for some defensiveness, and do not rise to the bait. Stay in control of yourself, and the situation.


About Company

Bacal & Associates was founded in 1992 by consultant and book author, Robert Bacal. Robert's books on performance management and reviews have been published by McGraw-Hill. He is available for consultation, training and keynote speaking on performance and management at work.


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We Believe

  • Performance management and appraisal MUST be a partnership between manager and employee where BOTH benefit.
  • Performance management can be the lever for improved employee engagement.
  • The review process is the LEAST important part of performance management
  • If managers aren't managing employee performance, why are they there?

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  • Phone:
    (613) 764-0241
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  • Address:

  • Bacal & Associates
  • 722 St. Isidore Rd.
  • Casselman
  • Ontario
  • Canada, K0A 1M0