Positive and negative reinforcements happen all the time. Whether it’s at home or at school, people have to get used to this idea. If you lead a team, you might think that it could benefit people in a workplace. The truth is that it’s a terrible thing to do. To begin with, you’re not dealing with kids. Punishment as a form of reinforcement could lead to unintended consequences. These are other reasons why you have to avoid punishing people just because they didn’t meet your expectations.
You’re sending the wrong message
Yes, your employees didn’t do well on a specific project, but it doesn’t mean they were terrible or they were too lazy. There are other factors that lead to such failure. Therefore, you can’t punish everyone and let them know how disappointed you are. Instead of convincing them to do better next time, they might decide to do a more terrible job. They might even quit. It’s true especially if they felt like you didn’t appreciate what they have done.
You can’t take failure negatively
These failures aren’t a sign that everyone did terribly. They also don’t reveal the quality of work every member produced. Therefore, telling your employees that they deserve punishment for their actions is counterproductive. The message you have to send is that failure is a part of the process. Motivate members to think better and be more creative in the future.
There’s no such thing as an appropriate punishment
Let’s say that you have a correct philosophical reason for punishing people. The next question is the type of punishment to use. If you have a light and childish punishment, what does that produce? You’re treating everyone like kids with a kids’ gloves and it won’t lead to any changes at all. On the other hand, if you decide to take a more serious route, it might even be illegal. You can’t physically punish people. You also can’t hold their wages and other benefits. You can’t isolate them and remove their office privileges. There’s no way for you to punish people and hope that everything will be okay.
There are other options
You can find other ways to motivate your employees after a failure. Punishment shouldn’t be the first thing to think of. You can conduct team building activities or motivate your employees using other methods. You can also brainstorm other ways to keep the spirit alive after failing.
Punishing people is easy for leaders. You just have to set a rule and implement it. The problem is that you couldn’t control how people would react. It’s possible that you discourage every member from doing better next time.
Be creative and don’t stick with only one strategy to encourage your members. Take time to
do understand the reason behind the failure so you can use the correct motivational strategy.
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