Rewards, Recognition and Reinforcement


By  Ebuka J. Anichebe

I’ve been running my own business for about 8 years now. Prior to that I was managing other people’s business. My goal however is to set up a business where I am not directly involved in the day-to-day running of the affairs, so I can free up my time to travel, write more and take up a new hobby like photography or painting.

Managing a business especially one in the service sector is mostly about learning how to motivate your team to do their best possible work always, and go beyond what your client expects- essentially it is mostly about teaching your staff to always have the power to surprise by exceeding expectations.

Now there are 3 basic ways of doing this- Rewards, Reinforcement and Recognition. I’ll make this lesson really straight-forward to understand.

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Rewards are what you give after a job well executed. It could be a bonus pay package, extra commission or a gift item. Companies do this all the time, especially those in the network marketing industry- the car, the paid vacations are all types of rewards. But this isn’t limited to just organisations, even the military uses this to motivate soldiers. The Chief of Army Staff recently made an announcement that all military personnel involved in the successful battle against Boko Haram and takeover of Baga, would have automatic promotion to the next grade- that’s reward!

Reinforcement is what you give immediately you see your staff doing something well. The difference between reinforcement and reward is that the former is given at the spot. So I see the house-keeper cleaning the bathroom with a scrub brush and really putting her back into it, and I say “Wow! You’re really doing such a great work! Well done!” She beams and says, “Thank you sir”. ‎She scrubs even harder.

Reinforcement is easy if you make it a policy to go about catching people doing something right. Tom Peters, the management guru calls it- Management by Wandering Around (MBWA). Unfortunately most managers do the very opposite, they go round looking to catch their staff doing something wrong. Some extend the same gesture to their spouses too. Seek and you will find!

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Lastly, we have Recognition, this is what happens when you publicly acknowledge the great work someone has done and call the attention of others to this. It could be a round of applause, Presidential handshake,‎ a public display of the employee’s picture in the reception with the caption- Staff of the Month. Whatever makes a person feel good and acknowledged will undoubtedly lead to pretty much the same behaviour that’s being extolled to repeat itself.

So there you have it, start practicing this and soon you’ll become a successful manager of people. Goodluck!

Ebuka J. Anichebe is a Coach and Speaker.

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