How to Reprimand a Volunteer


We all know the prophetic saying that our religion is one of giving advice. The problem is, giving advice is more an artform than a science. Reprimands are often necessary, but also often abused. If you're reading this article and getting excited because you want some tips on how to tell someone off for doing a bad job, then you are most likely a bully. That's not to say it may not be needed, but just don't be jumping at the chance to do it all the time.

First ask yourself if a reprimand is even in order? What do you hope to accomplish with the reprimand? If the objective is to seek revenge or embarrass and humiliate someone, then you need to stop. A reprimand should be given with the objective of improving someone's performance or rectifying a situation.

Make sure your reprimand is short. As short as possible. Be direct. Even if it makes them uncomfortable. Do it quickly - don't delay unnecessarily. And never, ever, do a reprimand in a fit of anger.

Make sure you discuss the problem and not the person. Discuss the problem privately. Be gentle on the person, but tough on the problem.

One model for a reprimand is the sandwich. This consists of affirming the person, attacking the problem, and then reaffirming the person.

If you made the mistake, how would you expect to be reprimanded in order to fix the problem?