When a Manager Should Give Praise & Give Punishment

bizfluent article image

Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Good managers find a balance between praising employees for performing well and correcting their errors and errant behaviors. This balance is hard to maintain when an organization is focused on reducing the level of errors in production areas, such as in manufacturing and service delivery. However, many managers feel that complimenting employees so they feel successful and appreciated by their organization is more effective than punishment.

Maintaining Performance

Employees who routinely perform their jobs at a satisfactory level or higher need praise just like people who struggle to meet their performance objectives. You should give praise when you see people succeeding at their jobs in general and when they excel at specific tasks. This acknowledgement can cause employees to feel engaged in their jobs and committed to the work they share with others in the same organizational unit.

Being Authentic

Some managers offer praise to employees because they want something in return. Workers can see through this approach, which can create feelings of being used or resentment in workers. You don't want employees to question the motivations of your praise. Give praise honestly and frequently, using specific language and with a smile or a pat on the back. Consider using email, memoranda, bulletin boards and newsletters as ways to recognize employee achievements. Avoid giving too much praise to your favorite employees, or other employees might feel underappreciated.

Making Corrections

Disciplining employees can mean dispensing consequences for violations of organizational rules, which employees should learn when they begin their employment. Think of yourself not as a punisher but as a rule enforcer. Some managers make the mistake of enforcing rules unevenly, giving extra consideration to employees they like best. In giving corrective feedback to staff, do it evenly and as frequently as needed to maintain desired levels of performance and professional behavior. Don't bend the rules for employees, or they will expect extra consideration again in the future.

Balancing Feedback

Employees need space to perform their jobs and an appropriate amount of scrutiny. They may know you are watching their actions closely, perhaps using electronic methods of monitoring for security and productivity. Even when their performances are monitored, you should reinforce your employees positively and regularly for performing well and give appropriate consequences for poor performance or rule-breaking. A clear statement of expectations and acknowledgement of success foster high morale in the workplace. Ignoring problem employees can harm morale.