People need to get fed. They want to know what they are doing that is good. So, regularly catch them doing something right… AND TELL THEM!
It is insane for them to finally find out how good they are at their funeral… so tell them now!
Dr. Mitchell Perry
Practicing Reinforcement: Catching Others Doing Something Right!
PEOPLE WILL TREAT YOU THE WAY YOU TEACH THEM TO TREAT YOU.
THAT WHICH GETS REINFORCED, GETS DONE.
Think about what actually nourishes and encourages you to produce and perform well.
Usually it is mostly about others being impressed, dazzled and proud of you. You are often driven to do well because of:
Your own self-concept
Your values, and
The regard, respect, cheering, and reinforcement you receive from others.
In company cultures, community organizations, marriages, and families (and just about any important relationship with others) there are usually 3 ways in which people find out how they are doing in the minds of others:
- Criticism, pejorative remarks, “constructive advice”
- Silence, absence of any reaction, indifference
- Reinforcement, encouragement, compliments, appreciation
Most of the time people receive lots of #1 and #2. Criticism and silence, they even say with relief… “no news is good news!” However, the price on long-term performance is huge. The result is most of your people end up severely EMOTIONALLY MALNOURISHED. They eventually run out of inspiration and emotional reserves to keep producing at high levels.
So, remember the following axiom:
If someone with whom you have any relationship is behaving in a way you become impressed and appreciative, and you reinforce that very behavior you like, you are likely to receive more of that behavior!
Most everyone believes that, and yet we only practice reinforcement with two populations: small children and dogs! If it works with them, then will it work on GROWN -UPS? Of course!
Here are some general guidelines when practicing reinforcement at work:
- Be specific about what they did or are doing.
- Share with them what value their behavior has for you.
- Tie in what value their behavior has for the team / organization.
- Make a point of practicing reinforcement at meetings.
- Get into the habit of reinforcing more than you criticize.
- Send “thank you” notes in email or preferably through snail mail.
- Send group voice mails or emails showing reinforcement for someone or several people. This increases the expectation that good news can be shared and recognition is very acceptable.
- Relax your concern that you will be at risk to reinforcing too much. Most likely, people will keep producing well with new expectations of receiving validation and recognition.
- Practice telling people what impresses you. You will finally get comfortable with it, and they will get comfortable with receiving it.
- If people discount your compliment, simply repeat it again until they say “thank you.”
- Practice accepting compliments: say “Thank You.”
You will notice people will be happy to tell you more and you get fed!
You are at a very low risk of reinforcing others TOO MUCH!
Remember, life is about two things:
Touching peoples’ lives and
Having your own life touched in return.
Therefore, what touches people’s lives MORE than reinforcement and appreciation?
ABOUT GROWING OLDER…
First ~ Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.
Second ~ The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.
Third ~ Some people try to turn back their odometers. For me; I want people to know ‘why’ I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren’t paved.
Fourth ~ When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.
Fifth ~ You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.
Sixth ~ It’s unclear how I got over the hill without getting to the top.
Seventh ~ One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it’s such a nice change from being young.
Eighth ~ One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.
Ninth ~ Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable and relaxed.
Tenth ~ Long ago, when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today it’s called golf.
And, finally ~ If you learn to laugh at trouble, you will have something to laugh at when you’re old.