Management Tips

The power of Positive Reinforcement in business


Although it’s unusually seen, positive reinforcement has a great power in business. It’s as easy as to tell your workers what they have done well when they accomplish a relevant task.

Everyone likes to be told and praised when they do good, specially if they have worked hard. So even if the whole task has not been done correctly, it’s important to look for the good things and remark them before getting on what has to be changed or taken in consideration next time.

This way, employees will work harder and be innovative trying to get, not the manager’s approval, but it’s praise. As a worker, if the manager only approached me when things didn’t come out as expected, I would be more worried about not making mistakes rather than improving.

This doesn’t mean that what is done incorrectly has to be ignored, but a different approach has to be considered:

  • First of all, recognize what portion of the task has been done correctly, and praise the worker in that way.
  • Second of all, talk about what aspects have to be considered in order to improve the performance next time. Try to avoid negative words like “but” or “nevertheless”.
  • It’s important not to blame the worker for everything that has gone wrong, and take some part of it as a manager. For example, for not giving detailed instructions of what was desired or not giving feedback on time.
  • Not only tell the employee what he should improve, but also let him know what are you going to try to do better next time.
  • From time to time, it’s important to remark how we rely on the worker, and remind him that he is not alone in the process of improvement, that you are truly available for cooperation.

Positive reinforcement is based on the fact that every one enjoys being acknowledged when the work hard. It’s a great tool to motivate employees, which will lead to better results in human resource management, and therefore, in business results too.

You can see a basic example of it in this short video from Tv show “Big Bang Theory”.