You Get What You Reward
What is your reward system for your organization or yourself? You always get the behavior you reward for. You don’t get the behavior you beg or plead for; you simply get the behavior you’re rewarding for. Just like with children, when they do good, you want to reward them. I’m not just talking about financial rewards. The most important rewards are intrinsic. This goes beyond the typical carrot and stick approach that so many leaders try to employ. Years ago Gallup did a poll inside organizations asking what are your top desires in a job after your basic financial needs were met? They were:
Help with personal problems
Feeling “in” on things
The Best Rewards Are Intrinsic
If people don’t feel appreciated or cared for as a person they will give you their time, but not their heart. They’ll only go the extra mile for you, when they feel appreciated and communicated with regarding the direction of the organization. Appreciation and help are rewards that can go farther than money. Sometimes leaders think, “I’m paying them, that should be reward enough”. You can pay for someone’s time but you can’t buy a person’s heart. You get someone’s heart by rewarding people intrinsically not extrinsically.
Lack of Rewards Leads to Poor Behavior
I’m blessed with four children and at different times I’ve noticed that if one feels they are lacking attention from Lisa or I, they will begin to act out in a negative way. If you have kids, I’m sure you’ve experienced this. Many times poor behavior is a cry for attention. Unfortunately when we’ve got unhealthy people on our team, they can act out the same way. I’m working with one organization that has a person on the team who will knowing make the wrong choice and he explained to me, “I know it’s wrong, and my boss will come in and give me a verbal beating, and it will go back to how it was.” How sad is this? He feels like he’s lacking affirmation from his superior and he acts out just to get the attention. This is no different than a parent dealing with his five year old; the challenge is sometimes I seem this in team members who are 40 years old!
If we don’t show up healthy we’ll get sucked into having parent-to-child conversations with our team, where we try to control or manipulate them into compliance. In healthy organizations we want adult-to-adult conversations, where expectations are clear, boundaries are recognized and high performance occurs. This becomes the real work of leadership!