How to respond to a reprimand


Getting a reprimand from your boss is likely to be uncomfortable and maybe even upsetting, depending on the circumstances, especially to Vietnamese as we are afraid of 'losing face'. Whether the reprimand is warranted or not, how you respond can affect your boss's opinion of you, not to mention your professional reputation. 

Step 1


Listen to what your boss is saying without reacting. If he gives you a written reprimand, read through it carefully. Limit your response to asking him for some time to think about what he has told you. If your boss requires you to sign a copy of the written reprimand, sign your name and the date and add the words "acknowledge receipt" to reflect that you only acknowledge that you received the reprimand, not that you accept it as valid.

Step 2


If possible, review your company's policies about employee reprimands so you know your rights, responsibilities and the potential consequences of both the reprimand and your response. If the reprimand is warranted, your response can be relatively straightforward, acknowledging to your boss that you need to improve the behavior or performance that prompted the reprimand. You will need documentation to support your case if you believe the reprimand is not warranted, so gather materials to back up your claim.

Step 3


Make an appointment to talk to your boss about the reprimand. Calmly and concisely present your position. Don't blame others or make excuses, even if the reprimand is unfair. Remain professional and courteous, regardless of his reaction. He may be willing to hear you out or even acknowledge your point of view. Even if he doesn't, however, don't further jeopardize your position by displaying anger or disrespect.

Step 4


Ask your boss what is required to move forward, then make whatever changes in behavior or effort are required to ensure the problem does not recur.


Next time when you are given a repimand, consider it a chance to show your boss how professional you are. 


- This blog is rewritten based on the original article on Chron, How to respond to a Boss reprimand (link)

Date: 25 Sep 2013
Author: Tien Luong

Once a creative advertising copywriter and winning writer of a public contest on the Youth Newspaper, now an aspirational blogger on various topics with a deep passion for life and human potentials. 

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