“Five Stars” Leadership is the Key
It’s critical to understand that before administering progressive discipline, managers and supervisors exercise real leadership when they first ask five important questions to how well they have fulfilled their own obligations to employees. Doing this is important to make sure they are actually justified in administering corrective actions. The negative impact on the company if employees are disciplined inappropriately can be dramatic over time.
The good news is that determining if discipline is appropriate doesn’t have to be difficult. When conducting a self-evaluation, managers and supervisors can use the ” STARS” acronym to the right to help them remember their five basic safety obligations to employees. Let’s take a look at each of the five obligations:
- Supervision: By definition, adequate supervision means “detecting and correcting hazards or unsafe behavior before they cause an injury or illness.” If supervisors are stuck in the office all day, it’s not possible to oversee the work employees are doing. Lack of supervision is a major reason disciplining employees after an accident is usually inappropriate. Managers and supervisors should ask, “Did I catch them violating safety rules before they got hurt?”
- Training: Employees must be provided with the required knowledge and gain the skills to comply with safety requirements. Employees, then, have the necessary knowledge and skills to understand the natural and system consequences of noncompliance. Managers and supervisors should ask, “Have I provided (or has the employee received) quality safety training?”
- Accountability: Do employees believe they will be disciplined if they’re caught violating safety rules? Or, do they know that all you will do is shake your finger and threaten them without following through. If supervisors allow employees to violate safety rules, all justification for discipline disappears. Managers and supervisors should ask, “Have I applied safety accountability fairly and consistently in the past?”
- Resources: Do employees have the physical resources and psychosocial support to comply with safety requirements? Supervisors need to provide adequate tools, equipment, materials that make it possible for employees to work safely.
- Support: Supervisors should also manage workloads, schedules, employee relations so that the workplace is as stress-free as possible. When the employee believes working fast is more important than working safe, supervisors are failing in this area. Managers and supervisors should ask, “Have I provided the employee with a safe and healthful workplace?”
If managers and supervisors can honestly answer “YES” to each of the above five questions, it may be appropriate to administer discipline because the five basic leadership obligations have been fulfilled. However, if they cannot honestly answer “yes” to each question, then an apology
would be in order, and a promise to make personal and system improvements (provider better training, resources, expectations of enforcement, supervision and leadership).