Let me ask you a simple question; do you want to encourage positive behaviour from your staff, or do you want or encourage negative behaviour? I'm mainly talking about the people you manage, but it affects everyone. I suppose the answer is fairly obvious!
I know your going to think I'm a bit mad (probably true) but bear with me on this story.
I really like dogs! I have two; a Golden Retriever and a cross between a Husky and a grumpy old man. If you have a dog, or maybe you don't, you'll know that it has to be house trained. As a puppy, it comes straight from the kennels and expects to continue "doing its business" wherever and whenever it feels like it.
So you have the challenging job of training the puppy to do what nature requires, but elsewhere, and preferably, outside.
I've had four dogs in my time and they all had to be house trained. I've also observed other people training their dogs. I remember one of my neighbours with his new puppy. Every time the pup did his business on the living room carpet or wherever, my friendly neighbour would grab the dog and give forth with lots of ‘Bad dog, dirty dog' and ‘Don't do that again!' Lots of shouting and shaking the poor pup!
The dog, of course, was quickly learning the message that, doing the "you know what" was a bad thing to do. It was okay at the old kennels, but here it was totally different and obviously not acceptable. So it took forever to train the poor dog that it was still okay to do its business, but it had to be done outside.
I, on the other had, being extremely clever, and also wanting to get the whole housetraining bit over as quickly as possible, took a different tack.
I used to keep a close eye on the puppy, and very soon realised when he wanted "to go". I quickly scooped him up and headed out the door. As soon as the dog had done, what he had to do, in the garden, I piled on lots of praise. ‘Well done', ‘Good boy' and lots of "happy noises"!
The puppy quickly began to realise that whenever he felt like doing its business, he would get all excited and head for the back door. He knew that this meant lots of good stuff, fun, praise, the occasional chocolate drop and of course - physical relief.
So what's this all got to do with motivating your staff? Too many managers are spending too much time concentrating on what a member of staff may be doing wrong. They believe their role is to "fix" what they perceive to be broken.
On the positive side, they may "fix" the problem with on-the-job coaching, or further training. However, many take the attitude that, the "bad dog" treatment will do the trick.
As you "manage by walking around", listen to what your team members are saying and observe what they're doing. When you see or hear them doing something well, give them some positive feedback; catch them doing something right.
This is not to say that you ignore poor behaviour, but more about concentrating on what people do well. If you do this, it will encourage more of the good behaviour and much less of the poor behaviour.
Think Praise not Punishment!
About the author
Article by Alan Fairweather, International Speaker and the author of, 'How to be a Motivational Manager, ‘How to Manage Difficult People' and ‘How to Make Sales When You Don't like Selling'. Visit: www.themotivationdoctor.com, for more information.