Have you every reprimanded the wrong employee or chastised an employee that didn’t do anything wrong? After I overcame my humiliation and embarrassment, I learned how to prevent it.

You’ve probably seen this already, but if you haven’t, it drives my point home. A large moving company, feeling it was time for a shakeup, hired a new CEO. The new boss was determined to rid the company of all slackers.

On a tour of the facilities, the CEO noticed a guy leaning against a wall. The room was full of employees, and he wanted to let them know that he meant business. In front of everyone else, he raised his voice and asked the guy, “How much money do you make a week?”

A little surprised, the young man looked at him and said, “I make $400 a week. Why?”

The CEO said, “Wait right here.” He walked back to his office, came back in two minutes, and handed the guy $1,600 in cash and said, “Here’s four weeks’ pay. Now GET OUT and don’t come back.”

Feeling pretty good about himself, the CEO looked around the room and asked, “Does anyone want to tell me what that goof-ball did here?”

From across the room a voice said, “Pizza delivery guy from Domino’s.”

All kidding aside, I’m a graduate of The School of Hard Knocks. It taught me a 3-step process to prevent my making a fool out of myself when disciplining an employee.

Step 1: Call the employee aside (get him away from the other employees so there is no audience). Be subtle in how you do it. Don’t yell or sound sarcastic. Simply walk up and then away from him while saying, “I need to ask you a question.” He’ll follow you.

Step 2: Validate the communication by asking him a question like:

  • What did I tell you to do?
  • Who told you to do that?
  • What are you doing?
  • Why are you doing such and such?

By asking an appropriate question like the ones above, you might find out he misunderstood what he was supposed to do. Or, another supervisor might have told him to do something different than what you told him to do. Or like our silly example with the pizza delivery guy, you might have the wrong employee.

Step 3: Only after you confirm that you’ve got the right employee and that he’s not doing what he’s supposed to do, should you then reprimand him. With a little bit of luck, you won’t make a fool out of yourself.

For more information on our online office moving training, please visit or call Ed Katz at 404.358.2172.

By | 2017-10-19T20:12:29+00:00 October 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|