, The Art of the Reprimand

The Art of the Reprimand

April 24th, 2016 Posted by Leadership Tools, Performance Coaching

In a previous blog talked about a few different strategies for giving feedback.  Feedback is, of course, vital to us all if we want to become better at what we do and it’s important that we communicate this in a way that it is heard and taken on board.  There are times, however, when we need to provide more than feedback.  When one of your more experienced team members stuffs up and should’ve known better it’s important that they understand this also.  The following 8-step process (slightly modified) comes from Ken Blanchard’s One Minute Manager:



1. Reprimand people immediately.

As much as possible it’s important to raise the mistake to people’s attention as close to the event as possible.  If you have a choice it’s best to do it in the morning as close to the beginning of the week as possible…see Step 8 below for why.

2. Tell them what they did wrong – be specific.

Being specific is important, don’t embellish the situation and don’t play it down – be factual.

3. Tell people how you feel about what they did wrong – and in no uncertain terms.

By letting the other person know how you feel about the incident it makes it more personal to them and they can begin to understand the impact.

4. Stop for a few seconds of uncomfortable silence to let them feel how you feel.

Let this sink in…this can be the hard part especially if silence in a conversation is uncomfortable.

5. Remind them how much you value them.

Now that the reprimand is over it’s important to remind them that they are of value.

6. Reaffirm that you think well of them but not of their performance in this situation.

It’s not about them as a person, it’s about how they performed in this situation only.

7. Shake hands, or touch them in a way that lets them know you are honestly on their side.

This is an important step and often overlooked.  The simple act of human contact can make the tension or uncertainty fall away.

8. Realize that when the reprimand is over, it’s over.

Once you’ve made your point, drop it and move on.  The importance of giving a reprimand in the morning is that you have the whole day to show the person that it is over and you have moved on which will help them move on too.


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