Applying the Hot Stove Rule of Discipline in the Workplace
"Spare the rod and spoil the child". This is the moral to Aesop's fable The Thief and his Mother. He proves that discipline is imperative. It emphasizes that if we do not take action in our children's wrong doings we will hurt them in the longer run. Children need discipline in their lives. It is their only way of learning the difference between right and wrong. As parents, it is our duty to mold our children in the right direction. The rewards of implementing discipline are endless, for knowing that they will make the right decision even when you are not there is comforting, and it pleases you. Discipline is fair, and open disciplinary procedures are essential to maintain harmony. Therefore, discipline is an important action taken to encourage compliance with organizational standards and regulations; whether in the home or at the work place. A popular and effective disciplinary rule used today by many managers is known as the "Hot Stove Rule of Discipline." This rule can be defined as the concept that disciplinary action should have the same characteristics as the penalty a person receives from touching a hot stove; that is, the discipline should be immediate, consistent, and impersonal (Gardner 1).
Before any disciplinary action can be implemented, a manager must first give advanced warning. Employees must be informed clearly that certain actions will result in disciplinary actions. This is a very important step. It is not the employee's fault if he is not informed of the company's rules, ethics and standards. It is management's responsibility to educate and inform all employees. It is easier to accept discipline if the rules and standards are clearly stated beforehand and understood by the employees themselves.
The importance of the "Hot Stove Rule" is that there is immediate action taken for a negative or wrong decision made by the employee. In order for this to be productive, management must take immediate disciplinary action. The sooner the discipline is imposed, the closer it is connected to the violation. This enables the employee to associate the discipline with the offence rather than with the dispenser of the discipline. This is important, because you do not want your employees to associate your actions with you. You want them to know that what they did broke the organization's rules. As the manager, it is your duty to penalize. You are there to help them and guide them to perform to the best of their abilities to the betterment of the association. Your discipline has nothing to do with the manager/employee relationship; it merely establishes standards to work by. As the dispenser of the discipline, you should react as soon as possible to the violation. When touching a hot stove, one gets burned; likewise, when committing an offence, if the response is immediate, the chances of it happening again are slim. Keeping the discipline immediate, and fair results in a...