Entrepreneur Magazine: Lead by Positive Reinforcement


By Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D

Founding Editor, bSci21.org

Entrepreneur Magazine recently touted positive reinforcement as the preferred leadership style to get the best out of your staff and customers.  Citing the work of business consultant Colin Shaw, the article provides two basic tips for leaders.

The first is that punitive consequences encourage deception.  Recent research found that kids are more likely to lie under punishing conditions, but tell the truth when the threat of punitive consequences were removed.  Thus, if you threaten your employees with punitive consequences, you run the risk of your staff promulgating lies in the workplace, which can lead to deleterious organizational dynamics further down the road.

Secondly, rewards work better than fines.  On his show Crowd Control, Television host and author Daniel Pink set up a flashing sign that told motorists they would be eligible to win a large cash prize if they obeyed the speed limit, which cut speeding by a third of previous levels.  In a business setting, finding ways to incentivize new customer behaviors that would otherwise face resistance, such as customers switching to electronic statements, might pay off for you in the long run, and ensure a happy customer base.

Be sure to check out the full original article at Entrepreneur.com.

Let us know how you use positive reinforcement in your workplace, and don’t forget to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!


Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is President of bSci21 Media, LLC, which owns bSci21.org and BAQuarterly.com.  Todd serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management and as an editorial board member for Behavior and Social Issues.  He has worked as a behavior analyst in day centers, residential providers, homes, and schools, and served as the director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Todd’s areas of expertise include writing, entrepreneurship, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Instructional Design, Organizational Behavior Management, and ABA therapy. Todd can be reached at todd.ward@bsci21.org.

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