Tip #10: From Peer to Manager

March 4, 2009 -- Sal Silvester

"I used to be a member of this team. Now I'm the manager. Do I really have to discipline the non-performers?"

Making the transition from peer to manager is a tough undertaking. With the new managerial role comes additional responsibility, and part of that responsibility includes disciplining team members. Many managers prefer to avoid the process by pretending an issue doesn’t exist and hoping it will just go away. Innovative leaders, on the other hand, understand how to turn a potentially negative interaction into a positive developmental step.

Here are some tips when disciplining team members:
1. Focus on behavior rather than attitude or personal characteristics. Focusing on behavior gives people something to change and provides specific feedback.
2. Ask the team member for his/her view of the problem.
3. Try to get the team member to come up with a solution.
4. Ensure that the team member agrees on a plan of action.
5. Never give the team member a written warning unless you have given him/her a verbal warning first.
6. Maintain your team member’s self esteem.
7. Remember that the objective is to eliminate the problem, not the team member.
8. Close the session on a discipline problem by setting up a date to review progress on the plan.

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