Positive Reinforcement

There is a duality of reinforcement. There is negative reinforcement, what people consider punishment. And positive reinforcement, what people refer to as reward.

The combined set has been characterized as many things but is best recognized with the carrot and stick scenario. The carrot and stick scenario gives two options of motivation. They are something you want (getting to eat the carrot) or something you don’t want (being hit with the stick) and the scenario always brings to my mind the methods of dealing with donkeys.

Positive reinforcement is a necessary tool in business and personal relationships. It should be given to reward behavior that has gone above and beyond what is expected. These things are referred to as incentives in the business world and take the forms of bonus pay, raises, and, in some cases, overtime.

Bonus pay and raises should be used to reward and recognize the effort put in by particular member of the team in a more structured business. Someone who works alone for themselves is less likely to be able to use raises and bonus pay for their business because they are the only ones there and all the profits are available to them already.

Bonuses can be used to motivate freelancers and employees by rewarding efficient and diligent work. Getting done ahead of schedule, with less cost incurred, and doing a quality job all merit bonus pay because they have saved the company money. That money would have been eaten up by taking too long and using too many resources, but instead is now available to pay workers/managers more.

Overtime can be used to motivate people to work beyond their normal working hours with the extra pay making up for the inconvenience.

Positive reinforcement in business and relationships can also take the form of praise. Verbally congratulating someone helps build up self esteem and feeds their inner desire of approval. Its role in child rearing helps create independent and capable individuals who are more likely to be outgoing, or at least have the capacity for it.

Positive reinforcement adds to people for doing things, and if they don’t really think positively about themselves it motivates them to live up what other people think they can do. It a very fine balance to use positive reinforcement  to motivate an individual and set a bar so high that they die trying to reach it.

Try using positive reinforcement more. It’s a worth while investment in others.



The Irreverent Gentleman


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