DISCIPLINE “He that cannot obey, cannot command.” - Benjamin Franklin -
Discipline and concentration are a matter of being interested. ~Tom Kite~
Discipline is based on pride, on meticulous attention to details, and on mutual respect and confidence. Discipline must be a habit so ingrained that it is stronger than the excitement of the goal or the fear of failure. Gary Ryan Blair
Discipline comes in several different forms. There is general discipline, meaning how you behave around others and how you relate to others; there is self-discipline, meaning the ability to control yourself when faced with temptation or when faced with trying circumstances whatever they may be; and there is a discipline, meaning something that is studied carefully, pursued for self-improvement or simply followed as a way of life, be it an art, a hobby or a religion.
Handling employee misconduct is a very critical task to be performed by the senior managers. Misconduct and other offensive behaviors often lead to decreased levels of productivity as they affect the individual performance of the employees. To manage discipline among employees, every company opts for a discipline policy which describes the approach it will follow to handle misconduct.
Addressing disciplinary issues is a reality for most managers. No matter what the detail of the situation, introducing discipline can be a very sensitive and stressful process that many managers deal with in only a cursory manner or avoid altogether. However, if disciplinary issues are avoided or handled poorly, very serious problems for the organisation and the individuals involved can evolve.
While disciplining employees may not be a pleasant task, it does not have to be painful and laborious. Instead, the discipline process can be a valuable tool to help employees and the company achieve success.
Factors necessary for effective disciplinary system include: • Training of supervisors is necessary: Supervisors and mangers need to be trained on when and how discipline should be used. It is necessary to provide training on counseling skills as these skills are used while dealing with problem employees.
Centralization of discipline: Centralized means that the discipline decisions should be uniform throughout the organization. The greater the uniformity, higher will be the effectiveness of discipline procedure.
Impersonal discipline: Discipline should be handled impersonally. Managers should try to minimize the ill feelings arising out of the decisions by judging the offensive behavior and not by judging the person. Managers should limit their emotional involvement in the disciplinary sessions.
Review discipline decisions: The disciplinary decisions must be reviewed before being implemented. This will ensure uniformity and fairness of the system and will minimize the arbitrariness of the disciplinary system.
Notification of conduct that may result in discipline: Actions that lead to misconduct can be listed and documented so the employees are aware of such actions. This will unable them to claim that they have not been notified, in advance, regarding the same.
Information regarding penalties: The employer should define the penalties and other actions like warnings, reprimands, discharge and dismissal well in advance. All these action plans must be communicated to the employees.
Discipline shall be progressive: Discipline system should be progressive in nature. In a progressive discipline approach the severity of actions to modify behavior increases with every step as the employee continues to show improper behavior. The advantage of this approach is that employees can’t take it for granted.
Documentation: Effective discipline requires accurate, written record keeping and written notification to the employees. Thus less chance will be left for the employee to say the he “did not know” about the policy.
Discipline should be fair: The disciplinary decision should be fair enough for the employee. Both over-penalization and under-penalization are considered to be unfair for the problem employee. Moreover, an internal fairness is to be maintained, that is, two employees who have committed the same offense should be equally punished.
Discipline shall be flexible and consistent: The manager administering discipline must consider the effect of actions taken by other managers and of other actions taken in the past. Consistent discipline helps to set limits and informs people about what they can and cannot do. Inconsistent discipline leads to confusion and uncertainty.
Disciplinary action should be prompt: The effective discipline should be immediate. The longer time lag between the misconduct offense and the disciplinary action will result in ineffectiveness of the discipline.
11 Qualities of an Effective Disciplinary Action “Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.” - Roy Smith-
Honesty • The employee should know exactly why their behavior is causing problems or raising objections.
Constructive • The employee should be given appropriate instructions to improve or correct their behavior. The employee should also be given a chance to point out any problems, be they with policies, training, or with other staff, that they feel might have led to the conflict.
Timely • The employee should be given feedback close to the time of the infraction. It is unfair to expect an employee to explain actions that might have happened months ago. Also a timely response prevents bad habits or destructive patterns from forming.
Respectful • The employee should be treated with an open mind, patience, and discretion.
Within legal guidelines • The employer should get answers for any legal concerns they have before they discipline the employee.
Documented • The interaction should be documented appropriately according to the company’s HR policies
Not when you are angry • An employer or supervisor should hold off making disciplinary decisions until they are calm enough to give level-headed consideration to the matter.
Not based on hearsay • It is very important that a supervisor determine the true facts of a case before proceeding. Making disciplinary decisions based solely hearsay is unfair and it can introduce a very toxic element into the workplace.
Not too severe for the violation • Punishment or disciplinary action should be in proportion to the actual offense committed.
Consistent • All employees should be disciplined in the same way for similar infractions. Failure to do so can lead to charges of favoritism or even discrimination.
Not in front of others • All disciplinary actions should be done in a setting as private as possible.
No horse gets anywhere until he is harnessed. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, and disciplined. ~ Harry Emerson Fosdick~