Rewards

This week’s Pearls of Leadership Wisdom is on Rewards.

A reward…
…reinforces behaviour. A reward causes the behaviour to be repeated, to increase in intensity. This is called positive reinforcement. The other side of this is to ignore bad behaviour (or punish it). In time, the good behaviour dominates. This is how we bring up kids (or should be) and it works on adults as well.

I’ve been a really good boy…
But something I think we do too little of is reward ourselves. Of course, achieving a goal will have lots of rewards associated with it, but sometimes they can be a long way off. An intermediate reward, say when you’re a third of the way towards a goal, and then again when you’re two thirds of the way there, can be hugely motivating.

Rewarding ourselves…
…has many psychological advantages. It facilitates learning and reinforces the behaviour required to continue. Plus it makes you feel good.

I’m worth it…
So when you set goals, put some rewards in there. If you’re reading this on Monday or Tuesday, I will be in Spain playing golf. I’ve been there for a week. I rewarded myself. It was the right thing to do.

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