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positive reinforcement
watchful eye
five minutes
How To Motivate Employees
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How to Motivate Employees

Have you ever been punished for showing up for work 5 minutes late? Written up for unsubordination after venting about your superiors? Does the watchful eye of your suervisor make your cringe? How do you feel when you are disciplined for something you did wrong or was percieved as done wrong? Does it make you want to work harder? Are you more productive after such happenings?

Alright, enough of the questions....Here's a scenario for you. You are walking along the corridor to your office and notice a smashed styrofoam cup with the contents spilled out onto the floor. Instead of passing it by, you stop, clean up the mess and throw away the cup. You didn't notice your supervisor, Monte, watching this through his office window.

Five minutes later you are summoned to Montes' office. You think: "Ok what did I do wrong NOW? How much trouble am I going to be in for that late proposal I submitted." As you arrive, he invites you in to have a seat. As you sit down, he gets up and comes over to you. UH OH! this must be serious!!

He extends his hand and puts a firm hand on your shoulder and says "thank you for a job well done. I noticed that you cleaned up that spill in the hallway just now. Great to have someone of your caliber working here. Would you please sign this?"

Flabbergasted, you sign the paper that looks an awful lot like a disciplinary form. You think to yourself: Am I being punished for doing something wrong? I'm confused!!

After giving the form back, Monte hands you an envelope, a really nice looking envelope. And says "Here's a little something to let you know how much you are appreciated around here. Instead of focusing on the negative, I have decided to start tracking the positive things."

A feeling of pride comes as you go back to work. Perhaps a little more motivated as now you know what you do there is noticed and appreciated.

How to motivate employees: Supervisory perspective.

The idea here is to start looking for the positive in your employees. This positive reinforcement will work wonders for employee morale. "Not that easy?", you say.

How does tracking negative behaviour compare to tracking the positive and genuinely rewarding those that go above and beyond?

The employee that has been 'punished' will probably act out of fear of losing his/her job. Is this the motivation you would like your team members to act upon? Compare that to how an employee feels when a supervisor like Monte is looking for opportunites to reward a job well done.

What is the employee from the above scenario now thinking as he walks away from Montes' office? Will he be more willing to meet deadlines? Be more productive? He may even become one of the company's best employees!

Positive rewards, even a handshake and a pat on the back, will help to motivate employees. These employees are the same ones that showed up late for work, took long lunches, and performed haphazardly well. With some positive reinforcement, you will likely see an improvement in employee morale and an increase in your bottom line. And is that not what all business owners strive for?

Street Talk

Rob stole my comment, lol

  about 9 years ago

Employees are like children, encouragement and rewards work far better than chiding and beating...

  about 9 years ago

Same frustrations happen with both doesn't it? LOL Feel like getting the whip out, but it's out in the tack shed. I must say though, I got the belt while growing up and for good reason, I think..LOL Had target practice with some windows in the barn....I can still feel the burn! Hated having to go find the switch that was going to be used on my arse, though! You sure do get around SA! Thanks for the read

  about 9 years ago

Mac as a kid my arse burnt.. definitely not the good kid on the block, however it worked, I deserved it and maybe learnt something while it was dealt out.. however with the laws now in place and children suing parents for beating them things have changed... workers have protection now and it is paramount to get production, how else can you do it without the carrot... ? Motivation, encouragement and applause are the tools of today, if you can get an employees work rate up with those three tools, you've won.. you can still swear at them as long as they don't hear it... agree? The stick would be nice though just for ones frustrations...

  about 9 years ago

As a former employee and a current employer I can agree with this for the most part. Attitude reflects leadership. As an employee I have had bosses that yell and bosses that pat on the back, I have never stayed long in a job with a nasty boss, and while I was there I didn't work very hard. On the other hand I worked a Buschures Home Improvement in Dayton OH, one of my bosses was Dave Paxton, he was really great, even when you did something wrong he would pat you on the back before correcting you, and the correction was informational not spiteful. One day not long after I had started there Dave came up to me and told me, hey Ty I really appreciate you getting your paper work in on time, it looks great...then he stopped and I said thank you, of course I had a big smile on my face by this time, he gave it a min to let the complement sink in, then he said there is just one small thing I need you to do a bit different. He was then very nice about telling me there was one area I needed to fill in a little differently, well from that day on I was more than happy to make sure I did it the way he asked, not only that but ever time I filled out that small little portion of the paper it reminded me of the pleasant conversation and made me feel good again. Dave was just awesome like that, but I'm sure many people reading this are thinking what a jerk their boss would have been about it, yelling at people only hurts their feelings and makes them angry and resentful towards you, a person in that frame of mind makes for a poor employee indeed. As an employer, I can also say that some employees no matter what you do just have a poor attitude and you can't do much about it, except to replace them and move on, I think it is best to build a team of people that have the right attitude and work ethic, and to build on that, don't let problem employees stay to long, your employees will put up with it if they know you will deal with it, but if you don't deal with it, his or her attitude will spread like cancer among the rest of the employees.

  about 9 years ago

I appreciate the feedback and the story! I, too, have had many different personalities and styles in bosses. Seems like the good managers do provide many memorable and pleasurable memories. The poor managers have taught me what I shouldn't do or be like. Again, thanks for your feedback!

  about 9 years ago
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