When a detrimental mistake is made on the job, getting reprimanded is most likely unavoidable. It’s one of those things that a good manager does not look forward to doing but finds it necessary. Getting reprimanded is a humbling experience, and is not always easy to take in. It could come as a surprise or cause various mixed emotions. However, your response to it all may speak volumes to your boss. You don’t want to do or say something that could jeopardize your career or burn bridges. Here are ways to respond to a reprimand.

Step 1: Keep it Professional

People tend to react in regretful ways when they don’t take a moment to breathe first. Despite how you feel, it is important to remain respectful, and uphold a peaceful composure while being reprimanded. At that instant, it’s a good idea to put any personal feelings to the side, and keep it professional.

Step 2: Review the Situation

When you get time to yourself, assess the circumstances that led to your reprimand. Take time to process your feelings, and acknowledge any mistakes you have made. Be honest with yourself. Consider what you could have done differently. Then allow yourself to look at the experience as an opportunity for growth, both personally and professionally. Keeping an optimistic attitude will allow you to bounce back more quickly.

Step 3: Gather Information Regarding Company Policies

Review information about your company’s reprimand procedures, especially if you feel that you were treated unfairly. You want to be knowledgeable about your rights and proper procedures as you plead your case. If you are supported by a union, you may want to consult with your representative or file a grievance report. Even if you do decide to take action, don’t lose your peaceful composure.

Step 4: Calmly Discuss Your Point of View

Set a time to meet with your boss to further discuss the situation and share your point of view. At this step, you would have had time to reflect, review and gather information. Reframe from pointing fingers at others or creating justifications. Remember that your boss will be more likely to hear you out when you remain respectful. Maintain your peaceful composure, even if the conversation doesn’t turn out how you would have liked.

Step 5: Ask What You Can Do to Improve

During your conversation with your boss, request a list of techniques to enhance your skills. Ask for examples of specific actions you can take to improve your work performance and avoid further errors. Additionally, you could ask for a written document that you and your boss can sign and date. You may even want to have follow-ups or documentation to note your improvements. Your boss may see your willingness to appeal as a positive. By taking this step, you show that you care about your job performance and the company’s success.

Getting reprimanded is not a joyful experience, by any means. However, following the steps above makes dealing with it go a little smoother. You want to let your boss know that you are interested in keeping your job and making improvements. While maintaining your professionalism and after taking time to assess the situation, you can appropriately communicate with your boss and move forward.


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