By Sharyn Weiss, Consultant /Trainer
One of leaderships’ hot topics is motivation. Specifically, are you treating team members like children when you reward them? This would seem counterintuitive. Isn’t it good to reward folks? Doesn’t the shopping spree game inspire teams to preblock? Doesn’t the marble game motivate team members to ask for more referrals? Yet a startling conclusion reached by two respected authors indicates the rewards hurt more than they help.
In “Drive” by Daniel Pink and “Punished by Rewards” by Alfie Kohn, the authors suggest that not only does a reward, like a regular bonus, not increase motivation, it actually negatively affects performance and decreases pleasure in doing the job for its intrinsic benefits. Even praise may have this effect! The authors cite study after study that indicates that extrinsic rewards create a dependency similar to a drug addiction. Rewards may give a short-term boost, but after the reward is withheld, performance goes down.
I recently talked with a Pride Institute client who admitted that since the bonus plan was eliminated, she wasn’t as motivated to fill her hygiene schedule. The bonus plan had artificially motivated her to do her job, and now she must find an internal motivator to sustain performance.
PREVIOUS TUESDAY TIP:Strategic performance – Staying on target!
What’s been your experience? Do rewards hurt your team? If extrinsic rewards aren’t working, we can help you build a motivating environment.