Around a month ago, I was speaking with Mike McCarthy (Associate Dean of the Marshall University Medical School) and he was talking about a problem he dealt with recently involving some personnel.
Mike explained how he uses the same logic at work as he does on a soccer field as a referee. As much as I hate to admit it, this made a great deal of sense (I hate acknowledging Mike is ever correct).
In a soccer game, if the ref feels a player is a bit out of control, his first step is to go over and give the player a verbal warning. The idea is to speak with the player calmly, explain that the behavior exhibited is not acceptable and to diffuse the situation. If, after this verbal warning is given, the player continues with this inappropriate behavior, the next step is the yellow card. The yellow card is the official written warning letting the player know this is unacceptable and there is now a record of this behavior in case this happens again. If, after the yellow card is given, the player modifies their behavior and doesn’t cause any more problems, everything is fine. If, after the yellow card is given, the player continues to misbehave, the next step is the red card, which means automatic dismissal (and subsequent penalties of missing the next game as well, at a minimum).
In business, if we used this same type of process, things would run much smoother. Too often, a problem happens, the management isn’t sure how to handle it so they do nothing. Because nothing is done a small problem becomes a big problem and everything blows up. Instead, a simple verbal warning could make a big difference. If that doesn’t work, following up with a written warning (that stays in their permanent files) will let the employee know this is now serious and will be dealt with severely, if it continues to occur. Then, if this inappropriate behavior does continue, dismissal is the next step.
If management and employees know the process that will be followed, there will be no surprises.
Following the simple process of verbal warning, written warning and then dismissal will help stop a lot of problems before they occur and when they do occur, will allow everyone to know the process to follow
I could have asked Mike to write this for me but anyone who knows him knows he would write this much more eloquently than me,but it would also involve 100’s of pages and none of us have that kind of time!
Have a great day!