How to reprimand someone (with dignity)


Many times we as leaders make this much more complicated and difficult than it needs to be. We play out how the situation might go in our heads to the point of ludicracy. Then trapping ourselves in fear of what might happen, we do nothing. Fear of paralysis kicks in.

If people do something wrong, they deserve to know. They deserve a leader with enough  intestinal fortitude to tell them. Sometimes they are simply testing you to see what you will let the get away with and if it keeps going it can transform to disrespectful.

A reprimand is pretty simple. Just make a sandwich, a reprimand sandwich:

  • Praise the person’s qualities Make sure you are sincere and not like a guest on Jerry Springer who always starts out with “You know I love you right” then drops a bomb on them.
  • Hit the problem BEHAVIOR directly and hard by telling them it is simply unacceptable.
  • Then remind them of their value to you and the team.



The proper way to delegate is to imagine you have a rope attached to each of your people.  The more they prove they are competent and can handle a given situation they more you gradually let out slack in the rope.  When they display bad judgment, you shorten the rope.  The goal of being a good manager is to have a lot a rope let out in many directions but never just hand them the entire rope. The mistake many make is when the grip is too lose or too tight.

Micromanagers don’t know how to loosen their grip on the rope. At best micromanagers are bad bosses. They don’t have enough self-confidence to release tasks or projects when competency and integrity have been proven repeatedly.

Micromanagers either have very low emotional maturity or are control freaks. They are the meddlesome mother-in-law still instructing the couple after the couple has been married for ten years.

Micromanagers have an extremely hard time attracting and keeping high quality people because they won’t put up that kind of trash. If you are a micromanager and are saying to yourself that your micromanaging is a result of your team’s inability, it might be a good time to start up upgrading your team.

For more get a copy of the eBook

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Never Shoot Your Wounded


We Don’t Shoot Our Wounded!

Everyone has had or will have personal problems. I’ve had team members experience the loss of a very close family member, mental health issues, personal injury, severe child illness, parents who needed round the clock care, court issues, and housing problems. These reasons should never result in someone being released. We don’t shoot our wounded. We learn to staff around it.

When you have mercy and give kindness to your team who is legitimately hurting and in need, you build a massive amount of loyalty not only with them but the rest of your team. Companies who treat people like a commodity as if they are just cogs in the great machine create an “us versus them” culture and you don’t want that.

Don’t shoot your wounded.

Everyone Needs an Easy Friend


Everyone needs an easy friend. An easy friend is what you would expect (if your mind is in the gutter go ahead step out of that filth). Easy friends are the one who doesn’t try to make feel guilty, manipulate you, take advantage of you, or be in some kind of childish competition with you. Friendship can be hard enough in life without having one or both parties making it hard on the other person.

Easy friends are the one who can go months without hearing from you and when they do everything picks right back up on the positive note it left off on without missing a beat. They are the ones you look forward to speaking with. When your phone lights up with an incoming call and it’s their name that pops up, you rarely send them to voice mail.

Easy friends don’t hang on to every word and store it in their mental locker to analyze it later to find out “what you really meant”.  They don’t look for an underlying message or some kind of ulterior motive.

Easy friends let you speak your mind and give your opinion without any backlash. You don’t have to worry about walking on eggshells around them because they aren’t easily offended. The have the ability to laugh at themselves and exercise it often. Their level of ego is almost nonexistent but they still seem to have an unwavering confidence.

Easy friends are easy to forgive. If you really screwed up and you attempt to apologize, they won’t even let you finish.

Some of the luckiest people on earth are the ones who have married an easy friend and now they are an easy spouse.

For more get the eBook:

An Enviroment Where People Flourish

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Monkey Problems


When an employee walks into your office with a problem or a decision that needs to be made, just imagine them with a monkey standing on their shoulders. When they tell you the problem simply imagine that the monkey jumping from their shoulder onto the center of your desk. So if your people stop by your office all day and leave you their monkeys, you will soon be running a zoo. The mistake would be to become a zoo keeper.

Experienced leaders know that to be successful they must ensure the people take their monkeys with them.

To get them to the level you must take a few steps to help them develop into the mature people you know they have the potential to be.



Give them some ideas for options and instruct them to come back with three good ways to solve the problem and a suggested course of action.



The next thing is to bring three possible solutions and you walk them through the reward and consequences of each and decide which is best. After a few times the best people start to see the pattern of what you expect.



The best people go ahead and give you a debriefing that tells you what the problem or opportunity was and how they solved it. This is called running the business not the other way around.

How you handle an IRATE customer on the phone


“Ummm …. Hey, this lady on the phone wants to talk to a manager and she doesn’t sound happy!”

This simple phrase can send chills up the spine of any leader. You have an upset customer and you are about to catch an ear full for something you or someone of your team messed up.

No matter how skilled your people are and how well you equip them to handle the situation, sometimes being the boss has a price to pay and that price is dealing with irate customers. Even if your organization is in the top 1% of elite companies, you will still have to field these calls at times.


Don’t chicken out.

If you think the client is mad now, just avoid them and let them stew on that anger and see what you get. It’s nothing pretty I assure you (Think about the last time you were on the phone with the cable company). Another reason to not chicken out is that your team members are looking up to you to set a good example for them.

Note: If you aren’t available at the time of the call have your people set up a specific time for you to call them back and stick to it.


What does the angry customer really want?

The first and foremost thing they want is to be heard. They are disgruntled for a reason, justified or not. It’s your job to listen to that reason (sometimes with earplugs). Don’t argue with them. Don’t defend yourself, your people, or your company, not yet anyway. The first thing you must do to defuse the situation is to listen.


Acknowledge their frustration.

Get on their side by telling them that you understand how they feel. Tell them that their frustration is valid and you can even compliment them on the restraint that they are showing considering the situation (And don’t roll your eyes. Be sincere). Remember to smile and remain pleasant.


Be prepared for them to share a personal hardship.

At this point during the call they may share something outside of this situation that is making it especially stressful. I’ve personally had people share family losses, financial hardships, marriage problems, troubled children, and whole plethora of things way too crazy to make up. Just know that they are going through a tough time.


Share your disappointment.

Let them know that you are disappointed in how the situation was handled. If your people did something wrong, own up to it. If you feel they didn’t, own up to being disappointed with the lack of communication. Tell them how you wished it would have been handled because that’s how you’ve trained them and that’s what’s important to you.

When customers (and team members) know you care they will be more forgiving when a mistake is made. If they think you don’t care they will insist you be tarred and feathered in town square in front of everyone you know. In the past, an upset customer would tell on average of around 7-11 other people. Today, they have immediate access to thousands of people. Even my mother has over 500 friends on social media.


Suggest your action steps.

Give them the steps you plan to take to resolve the situation to their satisfaction. Sometimes it’s as simple as to assure it doesn’t happen again. Other times you may need to reimburse them financially. Then ask them if that will resolve the matter. Whatever the situation calls for, do the right thing.

If they make a request, make sure it’s reasonable. Remained disciplined and protect the longevity of your organization by being fair to all parties involved.








The Jerk Whisperer – How to Keep Adults Acting Like Adults