Correcting mistakes and coaching individuals to improve will naturally follow the measuring and evaluating. This is also a part of controlling. When a worker’s performance is not measuring up to the agreed standards, he needs to be corrected and given the opportunity to meet the standards. If he cannot, then he should be removed. Correcting may involve changing the plans, changing the organization, or changing some part of the guiding function.
Christian leaders are quick to remove a person that steals or has a moral problem, but have been too slow to remove people who were ineffective. The practice seems to be to “keep your nose clean” and you will be left alone, even if you don’t accomplish very much. The major purpose of correcting is not to fire, but to improve; but firing is sometimes necessary. The improvement that can come is for the individual and for the organization.
Reasons correction is necessary
1. The worker may not understand the job, and the correction may need to be in the form of clear communication.
2. The worker may have encountered problems and does not know what to do because he was unprepared to deal with them. He needs to be shown what to do in this situation by the supervisor.
3. The job situation may change, even by outside forces that the worker has no control over, and correction is necessary.
4. When the worker is not trained to do the job he is asked to do, and cannot do it, correction is required.
5. The worker may have personal problems that interfere with his ability to do the job.
6. The worker may not have enough motivation to do the job.
7. The worker may be unwilling to do the job.
Right way to correct
1. Correct in private. Always give praise in public, but correct in private.
2. Correct quickly. If correction is too slow in coming, not only is harm done to the organization, but the worker may have forgotten the incident.
3. Be accurate in the analysis of reasons for correction. It can do a lot of harm when a leader begins to make corrections and discovers that he has the wrong set of facts, or has drawn the wrong conclusions.
4. Correct in a positive teaching manner. Correction is sometimes called discipline, and discipline is teaching.
5. Don’t lose emotional control. If the leader loses control of his emotions when correcting a subordinate, he will also lose his effectiveness.
6. Mix correction with praise. In almost every case, a leader can find something good to say about a subordinate. Mix the good in with the correction. Jesus even did this in the letters to the seven churches in Revelation.
7. Be fair and impartial in correction. Fairness is very important when dealing with individuals in a group. This needs to be consistently applied.
8. Appeal to the self-interest of the worker. Make sure the worker understands what the correction will mean to him, and not just to the organization. His self-interest may be keeping his job.
9. Use a progressive discipline procedure:
a) First, use a friendly informal talk by asking, “How are things going?”
b) Second, begin more serious and formal talk, perhaps with a warning and a deadline for change. Here you say, “This is how things are going, and how they need to change.”
c) Third, review proposed changes at deadline time and either give praise, additional suggestions, terminate, or give another deadline.
If proper standards are agreed to before the worker starts to work, and the performance of the worker is measured against these standards, then correction is relatively easy. Correction is necessary if one is going to build a good team of workers in a church. This area needs to be improved in the practices of most Christian leaders.