If you’re in a leadership position, and someone on your team is mishandling something, it’s up to you to say something about it. However, like any task, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it.
If someone did something wrong, tell them (in a straightforward way) how you want it done. Saying “that’s wrong” doesn’t explain what’s right. Saying ___(what’s right)___ will.
There may be a reason why someone carried out their task in a way other than how you instructed them. Your employee (or whoever you’re in charge of) is dealing with everything first-hand. They may see that it’s better to stack the fragile bottles on the OTHER side of the table because it reduces breaking hazards. At least consider their point of view before re-enforcing your own.
3. Keep It Brief
For one thing, shorter messages are easier to remember. Also, criticism is hard to take. Don’t drag it out longer than it needs to be.
4. Don’t Exaggerate The Consequences
If someone makes a mistake, don’t tell them they could cause the Worst Case Scenario. It’s humiliating, and a “Keep that space clear, please” works much better than a “And what happens when someone trips and cracks open their skull?”
5. Corrections Are Instructions, Not Pop Quizzes
It’s frustrating, I’m sure, when someone botches a simple procedure or breaks an obvious rule. However, it’s a waste of time and a source of negativity to go through a pretend Q&A. There is never a need to say “And what happens when we don’t record our numbers properly?” and then making your employee describe the consequences attached to their mistake. You don’t need to check if they comprehend it was wrong. You’re not testing capuchins for their recall skills; you’re talking to a subordinate. It’s enough to tell them, “make sure you record the numbers properly.”
6. Seek To Fix, Not To Blame
Let’s say you’re running a store, and you’ve got to keep it looking spotless, and then you see one of your employees has left their bag on the floor. Don’t pick it up and go “Whose bag is this?” It doesn’t matter whose it is. All that matters is that it’s gone. Say “I want this bag put away,” and it will happen very fast. If you choose to hunt down the culprit instead, then you’re wasting time and either humiliating someone or facing a silent room. Don’t bother with laying blame.
7. Determine If The Mistake Was On Purpose
For repeat offenders, it might be the case that they’re giving you attitude, but it might instead be the case that there’s a skills issue. The former requires an interpersonal solution while the latter involves better training. As you know, these are not interchangeable.
8. Lead by Example
If you demand that your employees maintain a certain code of conduct, you also have to maintain it yourself. You lose all credibility when you break your own rules.