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Positive and Negative Reinforcement in Leadership Styles

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Positive and Negative Reinforcement in Leadership Styles

Page 1 of 4
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 patterns in employees. Positive and Negative Reinforcement in Leadership Styles

There are many different types of managers in today's world, and each motivates their team of employees in his or her own particular way. Roberto (2011) suggests that “fundamentally, leadership is about transforming people in an organization and leading them to higher performance as a result”. Most often, leaders attempt to transform their employees and achieve these higher results by utilizing one of two different strategies: positive or negative reinforcement. Both reinforcement styles have their advantages, certainly; likewise, both methods have certain drawbacks as well. This paper will examine the advantages and disadvantages of both positive and negative reinforcement. The first leadership style, positive reinforcement, can come in a variety of different packages, and can be utilized in many different ways. Motivators such as an increase in pay, recognition, and a promotion are typical rewards found in many workplaces. Keller and Szilagyi (1976) report that rewards such as these listed above are significantly related to employee satisfaction in the workplace. Pay increases and promotions provide extrinsic incentives for employees,...