Positive and Negative Reinforcement in Leadership Styles Essay example

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Positive and Negative Reinforcement in Leadership Styles Abstract This paper highlights several different reinforcement styles in leadership designed to motivate employees to achieve goals successfully. Positive reinforcement (sometimes called a reward system or compensation system) can involve the use of rewards, such as pay increases, various incentives or recognition, as a motivator. Negative reinforcement will sometimes use scare tactics or abuse, such as public humiliation or the threat of a demotion, to push employees in certain directions. This paper will explore both styles, and the pros and cons of each. It will also look into how the two leadership styles can be used in conjunction with one another to modify behavior…show more content…
Recognition for a job well done is an intrinsic reward, an internal feeling of accomplishment. Many times, a simple “thank you” to an employee can go further than a tangible payment, as it gives them a sense of value, lets them know they are an asset and that their deeds are not going unnoticed, and can boost overall morale among employees. In fact, Buchanan and Huczynski (2001) report that the relationships between performance and intrinsic reward are usually more immediate and direct than those between performance and extrinsic reward. Whether intrinsic or extrinsic, a reward system of some sort in place can provide for a competitive, high-producing work environment. While incentives can be an excellent motivator, if abused or given too freely, they can also be a detriment, as most people care about fairness and equality in the workplace. For example, if a manager offers praise regularly to employees for merely doing their job, rather than reserving it for instances where someone goes above and beyond the objectives put forth in their job descriptions, this could eventually have a negative affect in the workplace. In these instances, individuals meeting only the minimum requirements of their particular job are offered
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