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Employees, Children and Dogs PDF  | Print |  E-mail

dog_and_familyThis may be a unique concept or just my weird way of looking at it. Probably, the latter.

I profess that I learned this lesson two ways and applied it well as a manager.

Discipline is derived directly from the Latin, disciplīna meaning instruction given, teaching, learning, knowledge or from discipulus, meaning pupil. The English word is too commonly used to describe punishment. Pity they miss the point.

 

In parenting class, I learned when disciplining the child, address the unacceptable behavior. You actually discipline the poor behavior and assure the child she is loved. I am not a child psychologist. (I have a very educated friend who does that.) I am just a parent, still learning and disciplining myself to parent better. I have learned to separate the child from the behavior. I would say, “I love you and I do not like your lying.” This way the child does not identify with the poor behavior. I do not say, “You are a liar.” The self-esteem of the child is well-kept.

Ironically, in dog obedience class, I learned when disciplining a dog, you do basically the same thing. First, you NEVER hit the dog. You are trained to discipline the unacceptable behavior, where it happens and as soon as it happens. The dog learns the behavior is bad and the behavior receives the consequences.

Similarly, with employees, the point is to teach and educate and preserve the self-respect of the individual. Again, the poor behavior is identified and disciplined separately from the employee dignity. For instance, if an employee is often late, you might say, “I value your contribution here and your tardiness is unacceptable.”

There are three parts to the above statement. “I value your contribution . . .” (or whatever statement is true and affirming) validates the employee and maintains their self-worth. The second part, “. . . and . . .” is the ONLY acceptable conjunction between the first and third part of this statement. Never say “however” or “but”. Either of those words will totally negate the affirmative first part. Finally, “. . . your tardiness is unacceptable”, specifies the expectation and acceptable behavior.

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