TITLE: Disciplinary Action, 6/28/2018
By Claire Cottrell
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May the LORD bless and keep you!
A problem arose at work. Someone was failing to follow procedure. Someone who had worked here thirteen years. As far as I knew, I was the only person aware of this problem. Great!
Upon discovery, he dropped eye contact and mumbled that he was unaware that he had missed this. We both knew it was a lie. Angry, I asked him exactly what was left to be done. He told me, and I took care of it.
Later, another co-worker found another employee who was failing to follow procedure. She demanded that I write this person up.
“She wrote me up and two others for doing this very same thing!” she said, pointing furiously at the air.
“She wrote you up for that?” I was incredulous. “No, I’m not doing it. It’s a simple error that merely needs to be corrected.”
She was livid and stomped off.
The following day, my day off, I repeatedly reprimanded myself for my laissez-faire leadership style. However, I had never been a person to write up my co-workers for every infraction. We had always supported one another, calling mishaps kindly to one another’s attention. More serious problems, of course, I dealt with according to the disciplinary ladder. In this spirit, we had functioned well as a team.
But this was a new job with a new mixture of personalities. There was a lot of back-biting and writing up of employees. People were suspicious and angry. Did I want to contribute to this atmosphere?
I decided to speak to the manager the next day for direction.
In my Bible reading that evening, I read, “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me.” [Isa. 30:1]. Isaiah had been my focus for several months now, and I was learning that the Lord truly does expect us to ask Him about His methods for resolving the issues of life. Familiar with when the Lord was dealing with me, I knew to listen.
So, I responded: What do I do? If Your Word is law, and I’m to follow it, then how do I deal with this situation? If I’m asking You and no one else, and I need an answer now, what do I do?
I flipped through a list in my head of the heroes in the Bible: Joseph, Jacob, Paul, David….no help. But a piece of Scripture tickled my attention. Oh…, Matthew, 18:15-17. Jesus! Of course!
I played various scenarios in my head, and finally devised a plan. I would speak to this person face to face, as Jesus said.
The next day, when we were alone at the desk, I told this person that I planned to complete this particular list of tasks and that I needed him to give me time to complete them before he signed them out. He responded with, “Yes, ma’am.”
Steadily I worked, avoiding the confusion of not knowing what tasks I was repeating. Now I could be certain I was not duplicating tasks. At the end of my shift, I was able to clearly communicate what tasks were left to be completed. My co-worker replied with a polite, “Thank you.”
Thank you, Lord! I now felt secure in my method of the past: one on one first, and if the person won’t listen, then climb up the steps of the proper disciplinary procedure ladder. At least give the co-worker an opportunity to correct the undesirable behavior.
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