How Are You Rewarded For Your Performance? Part 1

How Are You Rewarded For Your Performance? Part 1

That’s a good question that each of us should consider, but even when we do consider it there is a fear of making any waves. After all, you might end up on the receiving end of your boss’s wrath because “you should be glad you have a job”, right? I know I know we all have to work; we all have bills to pay and “toys” to buy. There should be some sort of give and take though, I mean your boss should not always take, and when he gives, use that gift as a tool to make you give more.

Unfortunately, a lot of companies are like that. They have found that negative reinforcement gets them results, so without hesitation they plan on the fear of the worker. I certainly agree it is wrong. Fact is, most of us rely on the same methods to get what we want, because we were taught and manipulated the same way. And the truth is this: it’s easier! I mean we naturally find flaws in others because we all want to feel better about ourselves. When you see a flaw in someone else very easily, that means that you already have that flaw. By lowering someone else in our eyes, it makes us feel raised up. However, it sure does stink when we are the ones the criticism falls on! Though fear will drive the person to perform better, the damage to moral will infect your workplace like a plague.

There really is another way. A way that will inspire people to go far beyond what they would have to avoid “the wrath”; a way that will boost morale and increase production, and all it takes is a little consideration and positive reinforcement. I’m not saying it is easy, but a manager or boss’s first responsibility is to the company the company’s goals that have been entrusted to them through the role of supervision “and” motivation.

It is funny how everyone wants to “supervise”, but few even know how to, much less want to motivate. I imagine that if every supervisor, manager, boss were critiqued on their ability to motivate, many of them would find themselves facing that same fear they often times used to motivate you. It really is a sad “downward spiral”, and it all begins with consideration and kindness.

You see, it’s really easy to look at another person’s work and find the flaws in it, then tell them to “fix it or find another job.” What we should be doing is helping them, expending the effort to look at their work, notice what they did right as well as the mistakes and point out both. Sure it might take an additional minute or two, but the result will be a happy worker who genuinely wants to do it better, rather than a person who is so scared of losing their next meal they second guess everything for fear of making another mistake. Always remember that you reap what you sow! Would you rather plant the seed of inadequacy? Or should it be the seed of encouragement? Which one do you think will produce positive results?

Believe it or not, there have actually been a lot of Studies on the subjects of positive and negative reinforcement. Psychologist BF Skinner was a highly influential American psychologist. His research on operant conditioning made him one of the pioneering leaders of behaviorism. There is a plethora of information and websites dedicated to positive reinforcement. Strength Finders  is one such website. Base on the life’s work of Donald O. Clifton, PhD  who was awarded the Presidential Commendation as the “Father” of Strengths-based Psychology.


This website is dedicated to helping people achieve through Positive reinforcement. The days of verbally “beating” someone to get results are quickly becoming a thing of the past. What I find perplexing is that in our society it is a crime in most states to abuse an animal for any reason and has been for years, yet we are just now opening our eyes to the mental and verbal abuse that is being used to motivate people. Maybe the –fear- of losing dollars outweighed the “hope” of inspiring people!

Remember, you as an employee are valuable. You have skills and experience that can help your employer to achieve their goals. If they refuse to see your potential, then perhaps another company can benefit from your skill and desire to work. Loyalty is important, but so is appreciation. Combine those and they equal gratitude.

Does your company allow you to work on your strengths? Do they even know what they are?

Stay tuned for part 2 in this series.

Charles Burke – Design Professional

Gould Design, Inc.