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Disciplining Employees – Every Manager’s Nightmare

a happy salesman holding a clipboard with a family in the background

I remember several years ago when I was first promoted to the position of Manager. I was beyond thrilled for the new opportunity! To me, this was my first step toward career progression. Everything was perfect! I had a small team of Customer Service Agents and Account Managers to oversee. I was excited to jump into action and begin some new programs and ideas. As is always the case, some ideas were well received and others not so much.

So excited about my new management position, I never even considered all that was expected of me. Soon, I was actually expected to manage the people that I oversaw…which included the need for discipline.

One employee was failing to make the proper notes in our system about current and prospective customers. I remember meeting with my direct supervisors and telling them about the employees that I oversaw. They quickly suggested that I have a disciplinary meeting with the employee to help them improve.

At that point, I was extremely nervous. I didn’t know how to discipline an employee. I had never really been disciplined in a work environment and had never seen it done. And, every example of discipline that I had seen from TV and other media sources didn’t teach the right steps.

Soon, I asked the struggling employee to meet. At that point, I was so anxious that I didn’t care about improving our employee’s skills. I simply wanted to meet with the employee to tell my supervisors that the job was done.

As I met with the employee, I didn’t know what to say. I said what I felt in my heart. Unfortunately, the employee did not improve his performance as a result of the meeting and was eventually let go. I still wonder to this day if I had been a better manager and followed the right disciplinary steps if I could have helped the struggling employee to become a better employee and retain his job.

Too often, our businesses are run with well-meaning managers that simply don’t know how to perform the important functions of their job. I hope that no manager experiences what I went through several years ago. My lack of knowledge led to an anxiety that made me ineffective and inefficient.

Our new course, Retail Management Essentials, is designed to help your managers learn how to perform essential functions of management in furniture stores. One of the 14 lessons goes step-by-step through the discipline process that a manager should follow to ensure that it is a positive experience for your managers and the employees they serve.

In our Disciplining Employees lesson, your managers will learn specific steps for each of the following tasks:

  • Establish Expectations – both policy and performance

  • Establish that a concern exists

  • Discuss with the employee

  • Monitor employee progress

  • Repeat the process as necessary

The lesson also includes 3 audio examples of complete disciplinary meetings between a manager and a salesperson. This ensures that your managers have heard how a successful disciplinary meeting occurs and can pattern their meetings after it. I wish I could’ve had this kind of help when I was trying to figure out how to manage and discipline my employee.


Visit our website to learn other ways we can help you and your managers. Or, feel free to email me at

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