Should Leaders Reward Volunteers?

Dog treat
Recognition is a powerful motivator to reinforce behavior. (iStock photo )

Pavlov gave his dogs a biscuit to reinforce a physical response.

Today we conclude a four-part series on the observable impact of a leader. Effective leadership is visible. Throughout this week, we have reviewed the creation of team unity, leadership direction and message delivery with frequency. Today we add the final key component of visible leadership, which is reinforcement through recognition.

Watch an effective leader and notice the many ways the team is reinforced through visible rewards and recognition. Praise flows freely from a great leader.

There are those who believe that employees are paid to do good work and if workers are rewarded, an expectation of future rewards is established. I need someone to explain to me why it's a bad thing to create a culture in which team members know their work is appreciated and rewarded.

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Psychologist and noted management guru, Frederick Herzberg provided insight into this topic in his motivation-hygiene theory. Simply put, Herzberg believed money could not create sustainable motivation. His work cited achievement and recognition as the most powerful and sustainable motivators.

(Don't miss a closer look at the roll of satisfiers, dissatisfiers and delighters next week).

Many ministry leaders struggle with finding the sweet spot to recognize the work of volunteers in the ministry. On one hand, we want people to know they work unto the Lord and will receive the best reward from Him.

"Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are laborers together with God: You are God's vineyard; you are God's building" (1 Cor. 3:8).

On the other hand, leaders understand that we are working with humans who perform at higher levels when recognized. Our people shouldn't NEED to be recognized but leaders should NEED to give words of life.

If we think of recognition in terms of reinforcing adherence to systems, we've probably found a peaceful middle ground.  

Recognition is a motivator to do things, the way we do things here.

Pass the biscuits!

 

"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. For you serve the Lord Christ" (Col. 3:23-24).

 

Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.

Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, Love Leads.

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Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.


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