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Positive Discipline In The Work Place

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Positive discipline is a policy that attempts to handle employee problems in a non-punishment manner. The goal is to retain a productive employee rather than to punish and eliminate a bad employee. Positive discipline programs must be structured and understandable by employees and supervisors and the steps of a positive discipline program should be followed and documented.

Positive Discipline in the Work Place

Most people spend many hours of their lives at the place where they work. In this workplace we need to be successful to keep our jobs and to be promoted. One of the most important parts of our jobs is to get along with other people at work and to obey the rules of the place where we work. Unfortunately, many people cause discipline problems in their workplace. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to deal with discipline problems. Discipline for employees is important and is one of the most difficult areas of supervision. (Bielous, 2005) Most managers just want all employees to work, get along and follow the rules. But not all employees do this and when they do not, discipline problems result.

A supervisor can use positive or negative discipline to deal with employees who have problems. Negative discipline uses punishment for discipline problems. For example, an employee might be suspended or fired for breaking rules. Positive discipline does not use punishment to solve problems. Instead, supervisors try to change a problem employee into a good employee. Positive discipline is a type of discipline that uses positive coaching and counseling instead of punishment. Supervisor leadership is important to this style of discipline. Quickly dealing with the concerns of employees can prevent serious complaints (Himes, 1981). Successful positive discipline is positive and constructive rather than punishment and creates a feeling of respect (Anderson, 2001). This type of discipline has been slow to be accepted because most managers are used to the punishment method of discipline (Riccucci, 1988).

It is important that all supervisors treat all discipline problems equally by following a policy that has steps involving verbal and written warnings, suspension, and termination (Olmstead, 2005). If all employees know the consequences of breaking rules, then they have no excuse for breaking rules. Supervisors also need to protect themselves by following a policy for discipline. Being inconsistent or unfair as a supervisor is a serious problem. Gary Bielous recommends the "4 Ds technique: discuss, document, document, discuss" (Bielous, 2005). The repetition of "discuss" and "document" is meant to emphasize the importance of these activities for the supervisor.

One of the situations that can cause discipline problems is a personality conflict between an employee and a supervisor. Employees who do not get along with a supervisor can cause unfriendly relationships that can cause destructive behavior by the employee. Personality conflicts between employee and supervisors can lead to other and more serious problems in the workplace (Pulich, 1986). Employees who think that their treatment is not fair might try for revenge on a boss and this is unproductive (Bielous, 2005). Supervisors in this situation can lose credibility if they do not do something to correct the problem(Bielous, 2005). Bielous says that the 5 worst things a supervisor can do are 1) praising too little or too much, 2) losing your temper, 3) taking no disciplinary action, 4) being unfair or not consistent, and 5) acting as a therapist. Marcia Pulich says that the solution to this type of problem is to 1) ask yourself how you can be adding to the problem, 2) focus only on work, 3) recognize the positive aspects of the employee, 4) be formal, 5) be clear in communication, 6) treat all employees equally, and 7) use discipline if an employee is not productive (Pulich, 1986). But the purpose of a disciplinary action should be to cause a positive change in the employee (Bielous, 2005).

A workable positive discipline policy should include a system for grievances that will protect the rights of the employee and the power to make decisions by management.

A grievance policy will 1) be orderly and understandable, 2) allow for equal treatment



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