There I was, in trouble for causing mischief at school. Yes, I was kind of a class clown, and class clowns live for the attention they receive. But as my bad conduct report made it home for my parents to be informed I knew I would have consequences.
Rewards or consequences.
This was a phrase my mom would simply state. Unfortunately she would sometimes repeat the statement as well. It was important for my mother to teach me that life is all about rewards or consequences. My parents showed me many rewards for good behavior and good deeds. Good grades in school, good deeds and conduct at home, or just doing my chores without having to be reminded brought rewards. It was great to be on the rewards side.
Rewards or consequences, yes that statement usually meant I had to be reminded about consequences, which usually meant I did something wrong. My mom, who was the best leadership coach who chose to be a housewife, wanted me to experience both sides as it was important to her for me to understand this form of behavior modification.
My mom explained to me. “Marcos Antonio, rewards are there for you in life and you will have to learn that it is best to place yourself on the rewards side. When you have a family and are working hard, your employers will use the same technique. You want to be known as someone who deserves, earns, and responds to rewards. There are consequences for everything we do. But in this context the consequences I am speaking about are what occurs and what you will receive because you did something wrong. Not only will you suffer the consequences of your actions as they usually bring unwanted results, but also the consequences on how others perceive you.”
Rewards or consequences.
Mom, I certainly have had both in my life. And as you taught me, when its consequences I must face them head on and need to take responsibility allowing the consequences to teach me to be a better man for it. Hopefully I have done this. The rewards and consequences I have encountered have made me who I am today. It makes each of us who we are. Mom, you taught me to allow both to develop my character. As a mother you may have not wanted to see me face consequences, but you knew I needed to. That is a sign of a mothers love.
As a leader in business I teach all those in which I am responsible for that we have rewards or consequences. We reward good behavior in work execution. We reward those that are coachable and those that achieve good results the right way. We want rewards to be visible and desired. We like to point to success. The One Minute Manager teaches us to catch someone doing something right. This is an exact form of working from the rewards side. But as leaders we must also teach and show that there are consequences for not executing, not adhering to policies or processes, or not being coachable. We confront it, explain it factually, and reset expectations. As a leader I may not want my employees to have to face consequences, but much like my mother I know they need to.