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  • Writer's pictureJoel Thiessen

Should You Correct People Publicly?

I correct people publicly if needed.

Most people think I'm crazy for doing so.

Correction in public isn't done all the time and when I do it there is a specific purpose.

There are many different types of correction.

We need to know the difference and why.

On Tuesday, I spoke a little bit about how to know when you need to move on from a client.

Once you have explained clearly what you are wanting from the client, you will still need to correct.

What you find clear and what your people find clear can sometimes be opposites.

This is when the first correction is needed. This can be private or public depending on if many people are struggling with your directions.

  • Correction to give clarification

This gives the member of your team time to explain themselves and tell you what they understood the instructions to mean.

The goal of this is gentle correction to make sure that everybody is on the same page.

This part is important as everybody has different backgrounds and verbiage.

It allows you to be clear and your team to be clear. When you do this, have your team member repeat what they think the instructions are back to you at the end. This way you know that you are clear.

  • Private correction

This is when they were perfectly clear saying what you want meaning they understood exactly what was expected, but they didn't do it.

Some people don't care what you say, they will just do things their own way despite being told how to do something.

The reason this is private is because you don't want to embarrass your team member and it allows you to really see what is in your team member's heart.

Once you see what is in their heart, you can understand why they did what they did, reprimand them if necessary and hopefully get them back on track.

Most times when this is necessary, you need to write down for personal records.

  • Public Correction

This is an important part of any organisation, but people use this in the wrong way.

Some people use this to tear people down and if that happens, there must be public apology from the team leader who tore them down.

Public humiliation deserves public apology.

When you are correcting somebody in public, it is after correction for clarification has been given. That way your correction is reminding somebody of what you already spoke about.

This is done to build people up, to build the culture of your organization, or to keep the meetings on track.

It is also a reminder of the people on your team that a certain behaviour will not be tolerated and guides them into the proper use of that meeting or their time.

Public correction is not to be heavy handed and not to be used as a fear tactic or it can completely destroy the culture that you have built and have the opposite impact that it was intended to have.

There are many more ways to give correction if needed, but these three are options that really help a team grow into their full destiny.

If you are struggling with your meetings at work or if you just have questions, feel free to comment on this post or message me at

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