In a recent post, I wrote about using redirection of behaviors as a means to reach effective production. Redirecting behavior is almost always a greater way to get desired production and results. Wise leaders use redirecting when a person or team has not yet learned or is not practicing behaviors which produce desired results. Perhaps the opposite of redirection is a reprimand. Though I believe reprimanding is by many leaders used too often and in a wrong and hurtful manner. Hurtful not only to the individual but also to the organization.

The answer to the title question, “Is Reprimanding Useful?” is yes, when delivered appropriately. A reprimand comes as the result of a negative action. Though many negative actions can be corrected with a redirection of behavior instead of a reprimand. A redirection will produce greater results and effectiveness than a reprimand.

A reprimand should be used in situations which have resulted in safety negligence or acute resource loss. Ken Blanchard says, “Use reprimand only when an individual or team has already proven that they can do what you want done, but they are now falling short of it.” (Everyone’s a Coach, Harper Business, 1995) A reprimand is in order when the matter is motivational (lack of).

When issuing a reprimand, always point out the strengths of the individual. Example, “Robert, I’m telling you this because I know, and you know too, that you are capable of doing this (whatever Robert failed at).” Point out his/her positive attributes and contributions to the organization. Acknowledge that you’ve witnessed Robert accomplish the desired requirement in the past.

A reprimand should be used to correct behavior, it’s true. But reprimands should always be used to build up and motivate the individual to strive for improvement, refocusing and successful effective production.

George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.

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