How to Tell Someone Off In a Professional Way

how to tell someone off in a professional way

Are you looking for a way to tell someone off in a professional way? Chances are that you are not alone.

First, you will note that we have people who normally offend us from time to time and yet they are very close to us. This person could be your close friend or even your employee. He or she should be a person whom you respect and would not wish to terminate their friendship or contract any time soon. Reprimanding someone is not always that easy. You might end up uttering some vulgar words that might hurt the other person. This is not right. The good news is that this article will help you know how to tell someone off in a professional way:

Handle the Matter Privately

If you have to scold someone, you should not do it in public. You will note that few people respond well to a public reprimand. You should instead call them to your office or house and express how you feel about their behaviour. Make this session as private as possible. Nobody else should be present apart from the two of you. You should deliver your message privately and keep it confidential. This will make the other person feel respected despite being in the wrong.

Do Not Sugarcoat Anything

You might try to sugarcoat something to make your partner not to feel bad. This might seem to be a good idea but it can be detrimental. You should tell them that they are wrong without beating about the bush. This way, your find will know what exactly went wrong. Beating about the bush will only confuse them and he or she might end up repeating the same mistakes unknowingly. As you address this issue, you should be as honest as possible. Make him or her understand your point and why you are angry at him or her in a nice way. As long as you remain professional, everything else will be smooth for you.

Focus on Behaviour and Not Character

Our character is not always the same. We are all different in our own ways. For instance, if you have employed several people in your company, you do not expect them to have the same character. They will be different because of their personalities and so on. The most important thing is to meet organisational goals. You should not focus on the character but on the behaviour of that person. 

If the person reports to work late, you should address that issue as soon as possible. It is not right to dive into the character or personality of a person. Focus on the behaviour that can be corrected in the short term. If the employee has a habit of wrecking work, you should address such issues objectively. Do not focus on the attitude or character of the culprit as doing this creates defensiveness.

Try to Listen to the Other Person

Talking to the other person without allowing him to air his grievances is not right. For instance, your partner might be in the wrong due to something that you can help him or her deal with. This will go a long way in facilitating behaviour change.

Learn to listen as you try to address the issue, both of you. This will make the other party feel loved and appreciated. You might be surprised that you might be the cause of this problem. Perhaps there is something that you could have done in the past to mitigate this but you failed. Listening to him or her talk will help you know how to solve the issue amicably.

Be Specific

You might generalise several issues such that the other party does not know what exactly is wrong with their behaviour. Instead, you should be specific. For instance, you can tell him that on Tuesday, you were 10 minutes later and on Friday, you were 15 minutes late. This way, they will be able to relate and will know that you are more objective. Also, this will show him that you are keen to note the small mistakes that he did in the past. He will not be defensive as you will have pointed out the facts.

Document the Discussion

As you purpose to tell off your college or partner, you should consider documenting what you are going to talk about. This will help you in case the other person repeats the same mistake all the time. At least, you will have something to defend you against any potential litigation in the future. This will also show them that you are serious about what you are going to discuss in the meeting. You can record everything that you are going to discuss and keep it recording for future use.

Consider Offering Help

Criticising your friend without offering any help is not right. If you notice that your colleague has done something wrong you should be willing to tell him that he messed up and what he can do to mitigate the problem. This is more important if you are addressing a person who is charismatic and would not like to lose him in the future. 

Offering help shows them that you were reprimanding them in good faith. Your colleague might appreciate the fact that you took your time to scold them and later offer them a working solution. If your employee needs counselling, you can offer to split the cost of a coach and help the individual make the behaviour change.

Be Gentle

As you purpose to reprimand your friend or employee, you should remember that you are dealing with a human being with emotions and feelings. The last thing you would like to do is to hurt their ego. The way you make your presentation can make or break the difference between constructive and condescending. 

You should not yell at your colleague when talking to him. Be gentle and composed so that your friend does not feel as if you dislike him or has a personal vendetta against him. Therefore, you should avoid using defensive body language and vulgar language. Try your best to maintain an overall upbeat demeanour. Remember that these physical cues say more than your actual words.

Take Your Time and Take Action Soon

You might be tempted to overreact in the heat of the moment or overlook important information. This is not right. You should take time and gather all the evidence that you need. Try to be as composed as possible during this period. Sometimes, you can choose to watch and see if your colleague will change his behaviour before telling them off. Also, try as much as possible to avoid jumping into conclusions. Take your time and watch the behaviour of the other person before finally reprimanding him or her.

Explain the Standard and Why You Deem it Important

We all like being appreciated in one way or another. As you plan to scold someone, you should not start by criticising them immediately. However, you should first appreciate the areas that they have done well in the past. Always begin with praise and honest appreciation. This will make the other party feel appreciated despite being summoned. You can even crack a joke and then narrow down to your point. You can encourage him or her to take the criticism positively and to work on the areas have you have mentioned. As that person leaves your office or home, he or she will leave with some pride and will purpose to change for the better.

Make it Look Easy

You should make the other person find his fault easy to correct. Telling someone that they are bad at something and is probably beyond their control can demoralise them. This can destroy every incentive they might have to improve on it. Therefore, show him or her that it is easy to correct those faults and become a better person. Show them that you have faith in them and they will feel encouraged to work on their faults.

Give Room for Questions

It is important to let the other party ask questions instead of giving orders. You will note that there is always something magical about allowing people to correct their mistakes. Therefore, you should guide him towards the right path by providing him with suggestions and ideas. By doing this, he will have ownership of the change and will be able to understand the stakes involved.

Telling someone off professionally should be difficult for you. You just need to use the above-mentioned ideas and you will be good to go. As long as you keep their feeling in mind and remain objective when scolding them, you can trust that you will get better results. Your friend or colleague will thereby improve his behaviour and become a better person. Consider these ideas on how to tell someone off in a professional way and you will not be disappointed.