June 01, 2000
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts June 2000 Current Issue
June 2000

How to Reprimand Gently

As manager, sooner or later you will call someone into your office to discuss something she did wrong. In The Power of Positive Criticism (Amacom, New York, $15), Hendrie Weisinger, Ph.D., offers this advice.

Be strategic. Before the encounter, ask yourself, “How can I communicate this information so she will be receptive?”

Be helpful. Criticism can undermine an employee’s desire to do better. Be prepared with specific answers to the question, “How can you help me improve?”

Avoid negative words. Don’t pin judgments on a person with labels like “impulsive,” “careless” or “inept.” Such terms can threaten self-esteem.

Follow up.Observe whether the employee is responding, and communicate your observations directly to her. Show you are involved in the effort to overcome the problem that was addressed and that you are keeping track of progress.


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