Encouragement VS. Punishment

Encouragement VS. Punishment


Punishment or Encouragement?

Do you view punishment as a main technique to get people to do what you want as a manager or a supervisor? Do you believe that without the threat of punishment you would have not control or authority to accomplish company goals? If so then you may want to analyze the overall attitude of your team and whether it is creating a positive, creative environment or just an environment of compliant followers.

As I get further along in my career I become more convinced that punishment does more to destroy motivation in employees than it does to get them to be team players. While fear of punishment may keep them from engaging in certain behaviors it does not make them want to engage with the team and think creatively.

Many times punishment, especially when a company has created a complicated series of rule, discourages individuals from doing their best work.

Freedom to Choose

So am I advocating a completely laissez faire work environment? By no means. I believe that clear rules and expectations are important and employees expect that a manager will do their job and hold people accountable. But when a workplace becomes so burdened down with rules and interprets them so strictly it quickly demoralize a workforce and discourages cooperation and creative thinking.

Think about this for a minute. Do you enjoy being able to do your job with a great amount of freedom and have flexibility in how you accomplish your work or would you rather work in an environment that has extremely defined restrictions on what you can do and how you will accomplish your work, a work environment where if you don’t follow the rules perfectly you will be punished?

What you Want is What They Want

Personally, I enjoy having freedom in how I accomplish my job and meet goals. I want to know what the expectations and guidelines are for accomplishing the work, but then I want to be allowed some freedom in accomplishing the work. I also feel that the people I lead want the same thing.

We all want autonomy in our work and the opportunity to express ourselves and have a sense of control over our own lives. Remember this as you manage people and see if you can find ways to give people autonomy and self-control over their work. Try to look for ways to encourage people rather than punishing or creating new rules. Give people responsibility and praise them when they succeed and see if it doesn’t have a more positive impact than finding fault. You might just find that by emphasizing freedom in how work is accomplish, as long as it meets organizational goals, and coaching instead of punishing, that your employees will flourish and exceed your expectations.

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