Positive Reinforcement Makes a Difference in the Workplace

As an entrepreneur and leader, it is of upmost importance that you reinforce your team with positivity. No matter the size or industry of your business, everyone needs to feel appreciated for doing a great job.

This simple practice will go a long way for both your team and your company. By offering frequent praise to your team when they do a good job, instead of reprimanding or criticizing whenever they miss the mark, you will encourage them to do well all the time.

A great example of the effectiveness of positive reinforcement comes from a judge in Richardson, Texas. Judge Roger Dive, of the Drug Court of NSW, is not your typical authoritative judge. He sees around forty drug-related offenders each day in his courtroom, during what he calls “report backs.” These appearances are for Judge Dive to consider whether or not the offenders are making progress in cutting drug use, building a normal life and avoiding further offenses. If he determines that the participant is making progress, he leads the courtroom – including the offender’s team of lawyers, health workers, correction officers, counselors and participants waiting for their own report backs — in a round of applause.

Whether the improvement is as small as going three days without using drugs or as large as graduating from the Drug Court, the participants are almost always beaming with happiness on their way out. According to a four-year study by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research published in 2008, graduates from Judge Dive’s Drug Court are 58% less likely to commit another drug offense than those who did not enter the program. This staggering number shows the positive effect that the simple act of recognizing a person’s smaller acts of progress can have.

Reinforcement in the workplace is as easy as a simple “thank you,” or a pat on the back – so long as you are expressing gratitude for their performance. The effects of expressing positive words are numerous:

  • Increased levels of productivity
  • Increased sales
  • Increased employee loyalty
  • Improved workplace morale

Entrepreneurs and leaders have a duty to manage their team in a positive way that makes their employees feel empowered. In the end, as the one who is leading the troupes, you will be the one who is ultimately rewarded through the impact you will have made on your team members and your business at large.

Think back on some of your most influential supervisors. How did they communicate their appreciation for your hard work?

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