The wait is over — it’s a boy.

Cole Alexander Woerpel was born at 12:31 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2. He weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces and is healthy and happy. The little chunker already weighs almost 11 pounds.

As I enthusiastically embark on the path of parenthood, I’m sure to endure numerous challenges, including — but not limited to — sleep, patience, time, um, did I mention sleep …

Luckily, my wife and I gained a wealth of knowledge tumbling through the mistakes we may or may not have made raising our first child, Owen, who was born in July 2011. He’s growing up so fast … And, I love him so, but, good golly miss molly is he mischievous — always pushing his limits. For the sake of plunging too deep into the realm of Dear Abby, I’ll digress.

Act Your Age

Many of you reading this are not only supervisors, but also parents. And, boasting a staff of working professionals, you’d never treat your personnel like children, would you? Especially regarding discipline. (For those of you still resorting to the old-fashioned “go get me a switch,” this column doesn’t apply…)

At home, we follow a strict, yet strategic, discipline policy. Our children are expected to follow the rules, at all times. I admit, this goal is unrealistic, but aim for the stars, right?

By providing clear consequences for each misstep, my oldest — even at 2 years old — exhibits a clear understanding of right and wrong. And, while he never follows my orders completely, he knows that if he doesn’t eat his squash, he isn’t going to get any chocolate. Yes, feel free to call me the baby whisperer; I’ve been called worse.

Follow the Written Rules

Once my son steps out of line, I follow the same script, every time, verbatim.

First, I remove him from the activity and gain his full attention. Next, I precisely explain his mishap, and describe how he fell short of his expectations. Then, I offer a consequence. I clearly explain that if he follows the rules, these amenities are a given; however, because he broke the rules, he has to pay a price. We again review the situation, so that he clearly understands what he’s done wrong and what’s at stake, and then we proceed accordingly. While these commandments aren’t in writing, as a business owner, perhaps yours should be. A written disciplinary plan provides you with protection and direction. The author of the company rulebook should carefully consider the organization’s goals, and the impact a sudden termination could have on morale and performance. A set-in-stone policy will ensure you aren’t unjustifiably canning someone who deserves a simple slap on the wrist. But, on the flip side, this policy will also dictate if and how an employee did not fulfill his or her obligations. It also prevents you from playing favorites with your most cherished workers, because, rules are rules. No one is exempt.

While each case is different, it’s important to keep a written log of each employee’s infractions. This provides a definitive record for those continually stumbling, and allows bosses with poor memories to recall each incident. As a business leader, you can only allow so many foul balls before an individual strikes out.

A Future Together

As a human being, you recognize that everyone makes mistakes. Your employees should be aware of this. And, they should know that you are disciplining them because you care about them and their future with the business. If you didn’t care, you’d simply gift them a pink slip the instant they left the toilet seat up.

While a 2-year-old should be granted a longer leash than a 22-year-old, the same general guidelines should apply. Acknowledge the issue, explain the consequence, and proceed as announced. If the rabble-rouser continues to mess up, perhaps it’s time to sever the relationship. And, as parents, despite our frustrations, a severance package isn’t an option. But, I have no problem being the scrooge that withholds the chocolate or dessert. That just means more for me.

Publication date: 11/18/2013 

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