Leadership is a skill used to make people comfortable working in your group, to help people who are in need in your group so they won’t feel left out, to help groups achieve goals, and most importantly to define their purpose. These 4 sentences define how I want to be led, it pretty much describes the type of environment I would want to be in. Of course, all of us have different types of these 4 sentences, some of us enjoy being the alpha in the group. We can’t hinder from the fact that sometimes we indulge in superiority. This is because as humans we are fallible, we are prone to make mistakes.
Sometimes as leaders we tend to forget that. We tend to forget how the people we led are humans and are prone to make mistakes. Now, this is where punishments come in. All organizations in the world have rules and each rule has a penalty for those who break these rules. Punishments can range from a variety of ways from financial punishments such as fines, punishments used for deterrence, and physical punishments. But as time goes on we realize that some punishments are outdated and should not be practiced anymore because it conflicts with human rights. From my previous statement, it can be concluded that,
Punishments have to be limited and should not be practiced in an increasing rate.
Punishment as deterrence can still be used in some situations, but there have to be limited to prevent the abuse of power.
With modern times come modern problems. One of these modern problems is an individuals’ apathetic attitude towards people around them. Of course responding apathy with punishments seems to be the right way to go or feels like the right way to dissolve apathy, but actually, if you think about apathy it is actually a right for every person in this world to be apathetic of the world around them. It is okay to not care for the world around you as long as you don’t disturb other peoples’ rights. So penalties and punishments seem less intuitive since it kind of violates human rights. So what’s the workaround to this problem? How do we balance our discipline and punishments? There is another key factor that stimulates an individuals’ effort, Appreciation.
Instead of punishing the people who are apathetic to the cause of the world, we should instead reward people who genuinely care about the people around them and the world. This is a method I like to call punishment by appreciation, of course, the only punishment here is not receiving an appreciation because of being apathetic. Imagine a world where people would want to do good not because of laws forcing them, but because of the feeling of being appreciated for doing good. Isn’t that what each society wants? People with a good moral compass.
Through appreciations, we can create fun and safe environments for our peers, by making them do their best because the system will recognize their work and a reward will be given to those who excel. It is interesting how counter-intuitive this is, by removing harsh penalties on regulations and adding benefits for being great. How we appreciate may vary, from sincerely thanking those who help, to giving special gifts. All that matters is the person who does good feels noticed and comfortable.
Because it is our responsibility as leaders to create a comfortable work environment.
To end my article I will share one of my personal experiences leading an organization. I manage a non-profit organization at my campus, which focuses on education, health, and environmental issues. Problems in my organization usually involve commitment. Some board members are really involved in the organization, but there are others that don’t seem to fully commit themselves in the organization. Of course, since this is a non-profit organization I can’t really force them to fully commit themselves, nor can I punish them. If I punish them because of their inactivity I am sure that they will feel uncomfortable. I tried thinking of a way for me to make the board members fully indulge themselves in the organization, and I feel that appreciation is the one and only solution to this. Thanking the board members who are genuinely involved and sometimes giving them special gifts for helping me manage everything, because when push comes to shove I trust they will have my back.
As leaders there are always limitations on how hard we can punish, but there are no limits on how we appreciate.