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6 Ways To Respond To A Workplace Write up: How To Improve

After lunch, you’ve returned to your desk in your home office, ready to complete the remaining half of the day. An email notification pops up on your screen and draws your attention. The email is from the manager, and you’re wondering why you’re receiving it. The email is informing you that you’ve received a write up at work from your manager.  

Why Did You Receive A Write-up?

Understanding the meaning of a write-up at work is good before digging into why you received it. A write-up is a progressive discipline that reminds you of the need to mend various aspects of your present behaviors or conduct. A write up example for employees is when your manager sends you a written document warning you of consistent failure to submit your work projects in time. 

A work engagement study shows that organizations in the US lose approximately $550 billion per year due to disengaged employees and related behaviors. The problem has become complex as organizations hire more remote workers. Your manager sent you a write up probably after a verbal warning. 

So, what should you do after getting a write-up? Does it mean you’re in for a demotion or on the way to losing your job? How many write ups before termination? This article explores the four ways of responding to a write up and how to improve  

How Do You Respond To A Work Place Write Up?

Getting written up at work can make you panic because it reminds you that you’re under observation. Follow these steps when responding to a write up at work

1. Remain Calm

A write up may disturb you, but it’s important to remain professional and calm after receiving it. Calmness assists you in maintaining a positive face with your manager as it gives them an impression that you’re ready to change. A positive and professional attitude convinces your employer that you acknowledge your role in the write-up and internalize it. 

Some approaches you can use to maintain calmness and inner peace include deep breathing exercises as you think about your work and recent conduct. Ask yourself questions about your performance and whether you’ve met all your work schedules. Take your time to process the situation and understand it. Here are a few questions to get you started here;

  • Have I been attending to all my duties, including meeting my daily targets?
  • How has my performance been in recent times? I’m I becoming too comfortable to work?
  • Did I receive a verbal warning from the team leader or manager recently?
  • What is the main problem that prompted this write up?
  • How should I go about it?

Calmness helps you to avoid responding with rage and denial. Negative reactions push puts your manager off and shut the door of sympathy for you. Responding aggressively also makes things difficult for you by accumulating evidence for more write ups. 

2. Don’t Lose Your Mind: Introspect 

Should you respond instantly to a write up email? No, doing so is more likely to paint you negatively. Here are more questions to ask before getting defensive;

  • Does the email contain facts or false allegations resulting from miscommunication?
  • Do I need this job, or should I move on? 
  • Are there laws regarding write ups at work?
  • What options do I have?

These questions help you to understand your direct role in the write up. Be honest and objective when answering them in the process of understanding the main causes of the write up. 

3. Review The Documents 

Write ups come with documentation detailing the dwindling performance, behaviors, or shortcomings. Obtain the written reports showing where you failed as indicated in your company’s recent evaluation. Your manager should be willing to share the relevant documents to assist you in the improvement path. A negative reaction from your manager or supervisor if you ask for documents or records shows that the problem isn’t wholly from your end. 

So, what do you do if the HR manager or supervisor is unwilling to share their records with you? Unfortunately, you can’t do anything to force the manager to give you the documents or break into their email. However, requesting the evidence records informs the management that you’re willing to work on your behaviors. 

4. Request To Meet Your Manager

Reach out to your manager and schedule a meeting. The meeting is important because it allows you to dig into the write up and understand why you received it. Listen to your manager attentively to get the reasons that pushed them into giving you the write up as you strategize on how to respond to it. One step on how to dispute a write up at work is listening to the manager first. 

Remember to ask questions while maintaining a professional tone during the meeting. The questions help you to gain an insight into the write up at workplace to formulate a response.

 The meeting also offers you a platform to table your apology to the manager and express your commitment to working on your behavior. 

5. Take Notes & Gather evidence

Take detailed notes from your manager or supervisor during the meeting. The notes serve as crucial evidence for dispute if you feel there were no substantial reasons to warrant the write up at work

Remember to remain calm as you gather evidence to back up your rebuttal. Arguing without sufficient proof makes you sound defensive, self-righteous, and grumpy employee rejecting feedback. 

Taking notes also helps you to keep track of the manager’s essential details of your behavior and performance for self-improvement. Notes remind you of things you didn’t know about yourself and encourage you to embrace ways of maintaining positive relationships with your employer. 

6. Ask For Tips From Your Manager 

Managers are often more than willing to help you to improve on the highlighted aspects that prompted the right up. For instance, if the right up you received refers to specific behaviors or situations, your manager may offer suggestions of elaborate steps to improve the situation. 

Ask the manager how they think you can improve your performance and avoid future write ups. Engaging your manager in improving your behaviors and performance shows dedication and assures the manager that you’re an outstanding worker ready to work on weaknesses. 

How Can I Avoid Getting Written Up At Work?

We’ve examined what to do and how to respond to a write up at work. Perhaps the first question we should have asked ourselves is how to avoid getting written up at work. As you fix things on your current write-up, here’s a list of things to avoid future write-ups from staining your workplace file and ruining the career you’ve worked hard to build. 

1. Keep Time

You’re more likely to lose track of time if you’re working remotely. Time management is the main secret to maintaining a healthy relationship with your bosses when working remotely. Check your calendars, keep tasks running, observe meeting schedules, and avoid procrastinating. Procrastination is a thief of Time as it bars you from reaching your targets. Keep track of time throughout the day. 

2. Keep Your Manager Or Supervisor Posted 

Sometimes you’re unable to attend meetings or submit work for various reasons. Remember to inform your manager and teammates if you miss a meeting or deadlines. Communication ensures that your work doesn’t suffer and shields you from possible write ups. Commit yourself to follow up on any incomplete task and submit it within the slightest available opportunity. 

3. Maintain Professionalism

Maintain the highest levels of professionalism when handling work and behavior-related feedback daily. Avoid sounding defensive or rude, and respond calmly to situations. Treat feedback positively even when you feel there’s no reason to do so. 

Always keep your productivity top-notch. Follow routines to the letter and keep mishaps at a minimum. 

4. Observe Company Culture 

Learning the company culture keeps you from trouble with your manager or supervisor. Here are a few things to note;

  • Does your organization allow the use of casual language in communication?
  • Are you free to choose working hours, or is there a strict work schedule?
  • Which communication channels does the company use?
  • What policies and work ethics should you observe at all times? 

Adhere to the company culture to avoid foreseen problems. 

5. Give The Best Output

 It always pays to give your best and follow company guidelines. Be determined and focused on your work for optimum output. Managers rarely give written write ups to determined employees. Avoid poor performance and procrastination. 

Dealing with a write up at work can be overwhelming. Seek support from family and friends to help you to remain calm in the situation. Pursue legal steps if your manager broke laws regarding write ups at workplace. The good news is that write ups don’t rubberstamp your future work ethics. 

Frequently Asked Questions For Getting Written Up At Work

How Many Write Ups Before termination?

Different companies have unique policies concerning write ups and termination. However, most employers will send you three write ups before termination. Another factor that determines whether a write up leads to termination is its nature. For example, you can be fired instantly for sexual harassment or violating company confidentiality. 

Do Write Ups At Work Go Away?

Written write ups are kept in your workplace file as evidence and don’t go away. Always avoid taking verbal warnings from your bosses seriously to avoid write ups. However, write ups hinder your career from progressing if you deal with them and improve.


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