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The Other Side of Discipline | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

The Other Side of Discipline

In a recent article I discussed the importance of discipline from a supervisory stand point – why it is a necessary evil and how to make it a positive experience whenever possible. Now I would like to take the opportunity to discuss the same subject from the other side of the equation – that of the employee.

No employee wakes up in the morning or starts a shift hoping to get in trouble. If you do, then maybe you need a second go at your psych evaluation. However, as I discussed before, discipline is a necessary function of any organization and this means that when it happens, someone will be on the receiving end. Sometimes that will be you, but discipline does not need to be unnecessarily difficult, nor does it need to be anything more than a bump in your career path.

As the employee, you play as much a part in making discipline a positive experience as the supervisor tasked with dishing it out. How you respond, both during and after, will have a greater impact on your wellbeing, both personally and professionally, than any action your supervisor might take.

Follow these steps to ensure that disciplinary action is a smooth, positive experience for all:

  1. Work DisciplineAccept Responsibility – as an employee you should know your rights, both legally and contractually, and take the necessary steps to ensure they are protected. However, just as there is a time to fight to the bitter end, there is also a time to accept responsibility for your actions. If you did something obviously against policy it may be best to face facts, admit it and move one. This is often the difference between a supervisor being able to say “he understands XYZ was contrary to policy and is unlikely to repeat negative behavior” and “employee appears to have difficulty understanding need to adhere to policy, additional training is recommended.”
  2. Learn From Your Mistakes – employees can get in trouble for a variety of reasons, but it has been my personal experience that most minor discipline is often the result of simply misunderstanding policy or making a poor decision during a period of stress. When you fall into the latter category, the best thing you can do is to learn what is expected of you and how you can make the necessary corrections to achieve those expectations.
  3. Move Forward – on more than one occasion, I have seen up and coming employees become derailed following minor discipline. In most of these instances, the employee spent a great deal of time dwelling on the punishment received and, rather than learning from their mistake, turned negative and even angry. In the end, they became the subject of continued and increasing discipline, often to the point that they permanently affected their career.

Everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes you have to face the consequences of those mistakes; but, if you view minor punishment as just that –minor, temporary discomfort – there is no reason you cannot continue in a positive, rewarding career.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell

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