I saw a study last week, which emphasized that teachers will be more effective if they praise students, rather than punish them.
The same is true for managers and, more specifically, entrepreneurs.
Back to the study, which was published in Educational Psychology. The researchers spent three years observing 2,536 students, across three US states, from kindergarten age through to sixth grade (5 to 12 years of age).
The study showed a relationship between the ratio of praise to reprimands used by the teachers and the extent to which students focused on class activities. In other words, the more teachers praised and the less that they scolded, the more students paid attention to the teacher, or worked on assigned tasks.
Unfortunately, this approach is uncommon.
“Previous research has shown that teachers often tend to reprimand students for problem behavior as much or more than they praise pupils for appropriate behavior, which can often have a negative effect on classrooms and student behavior,” said Dr. Paul Caldarella, from the David O. McKay School of Education at Brigham Young University.
This study hit home with me, not only because I am a serial startup entrepreneur, but for the fact that I taught entrepreneurship at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, and was the co-founder of the College of Entrepreneurship at Grand Canyon University.
I have seen the benefits of positive reinforcement in both the academic and entrepreneurial setting.
As an entrepreneur, it is imperative that you praise, rather than tear down. For one, you typically have a very small staff. If one employee is negatively impacted by your actions, it could damage the entire operation. Second, your teaching your employees how they should treat your customers or clients. Finally, you are inspiring loyalty. You don’t have to have a degree in psychology to understand that employees who feel good about their job and like their manager will put in the extra effort to make your business a success.
I encourage all my entrepreneur friends to try this. You’ll see immediate results.