On Correction

One of the greatest challenges in management is correcting staff, especially when you’re somewhat annoyed at them. While it might feel really good to vent your anger by stalking into your geek’s cube and start yelling, “What the $%^&* were you thinking!?!?!?”, this isn’t the best way to maintain her respect or team functions in general. And, I have to admit, I have a temper, which makes the yelling part even harder to resist.

How do I deal with it?

So glad you asked…

  1. Find out what actually happened. Your question to the geek shouldn’t be, “What the $%^& did you do to the managing partner’s computer?”, but should be, “So, what’s up with the managing partner’s computer?” And it should be said in a true tone of inquiry, rather than anger.
  2. Think about it. Think before reacting or thinking (If I, an extreme extrovert can do it, so can you–honest!). Make sure you’ve listened, and ask whatever follow-up questions you need to ask so that you feel like you thoroughly understand the situation.
  3. Figure out how to phrase your correction. Usually, this will become somewhat clear as you understand the situation. I find that I usually phrase correction starting with, “In the future, I’d prefer it if you…”, or, “I understand why you did that; in order to fix this, can you please…”
  4. Recognize if there’s no need for correction. Once you understand the situation, you might find that your geek didn’t actually do anything wrong. Don’t be tempted to correct anyhow.
  5. Strategize for the future. Let your geek know how you prefer these situations to be handled. Or ask for the geek’s input on how to prevent it from happening again. You might learn something.

It’s not easy; as I said, it’s one of the greatest management challenges out there. You’ll probably make some mistakes (heaven knows, I have!), but, if you can keep your temper, you can fix the situation (at least for the future) and keep your geek relatively happy.