“If we don’t discipline ourselves, the world will do it for us.” – William Feather
Is it ever acceptable to reprimand a team member in front of other team members? Yes, sometimes the team needs to see that there are consequences for non-performance. If a team member is consistently not living up to his or her responsibilities or acts inappropriately in front of the team, the team needs to know that he or she is not getting away with it.
The first time a team members lets you down, you might consider speaking to them privately. Think of this as a follow-up and check-in. For example if a team member misses a deadline. Don’t ignore it, certainly ask him or her for a brief explanation and ask for a commitment to a new date. If the new date will not work, state that. The follow-up and check-in comes after the meeting. Stop by (or if he or she is virtual call), and ask if everything is OK. Ask if there are obstacles that are preventing the successful completion of his or her work. MOST people will get the point.
If that team member lets you down a second time, you want to be more pointed in your discussion. You might even mention that you notice that this is the second time that he or she has been late. Ask for a new date and make a point of saying that you will follow up with him or her later for additional discussion. In this way the team understands that you are not ignoring the situation. It is similar to when you were in grade school and you knew someone was being called to the principal’s office.
There is a situation where you should probably provide a firm response right away and that is if you really believe that a team member is being disrespectful to another team member or to you. This type of behavior should be discouraged right away. You do not have to be mean or harsh, but you do want to be firm. And you do want your team to see you stand up for them and to stand up for yourself.
What are your thoughts? How do you handle it when you think you need to reprimand a team member?