Why Workplace Write-Ups Do Not Work
You and I know that workplace write-ups (as routinely dispensed) do not work—not really. Because, the purpose of correction in the workplace is rarely discussed, much less taught, and is seldom understood by those authorized to “crack the proverbial whip” upon a subordinate’s back. I mean really, when was the last time you heard someone teach, at your place of employment, on the restorative value of correction and the most beneficial way to deliver correction to an erring employee? I’m guessing probably never.
And that my friends is a tragedy on so many levels. The Word of God tells us that “reproofs that discipline are the way to life.” In other words, God is telling us that correction is meant to bring life, not death—so that people might flourish and become all that God intended them to be. Yet, that is rarely what people experience when it comes to workplace discipline. More often than not, a workplace write-up leaves an employee bitterly broken rather than beautifully better. And that should not be the end result of a write-up—if it is—then we who lead have missed an incredible opportunity to bring out the best in those we are called to love and lead.
Let me explain. Shortly before I was married, and thankfully before I had children or became a boss, I had a wise mentor who shared a piece of advice that fortunately I have never been able to forget. Just two simple sentences—so profound they directed how I administered correction to my children and eventually to my staff once I became a boss. His advice has served me well and I pray it will do the same for you. Because honestly, if more people would embrace this little gem of wisdom—it could transform workplaces around the world.
Here are the two simple sentences that have the power to transform your workplace culture:
“You should never rebuke someone, unless in the same breath you can restore them.
If you cannot offer restoration, then you should not rebuke.”
Oh please…let that sink in for just one holy moment. And then understand this: If our work is in response to His summons upon our life—then it behooves those of us who lead—to reprimand in a manner that reflects the heart of God which is always reconciliation and restoration.
Are you ready to be a catalyst for change in the workplace? I hope so. Workplace depression is on the rise. Employee disengagement has skyrocketed. If ever there were a time for someone to step up and lead with love—the time is now. You could be the one who opens the door and reverses the high rate of employee job dissatisfaction.
It is well-past the time to throw away the write-ups we’re familiar with and offer something better: a reproof and restoration plan that offers hope and a clean slate for those who are willing to receive correction. Correction is a necessary part of life, it’s how we grow, but it must be delivered with a strong dose of love, otherwise we run the risk of crushing the spirit of those who have been entrusted to our care.
May you find the courage to be a catalyst for change and be the kind of leader that will love your people so well that they cannot help but see the love of God in you.
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