Regarding punishment or discipline referring to the ‘Stick’ in a very widely known motivational concept: the ‘Carrot and Stick’ approach, it is a good motivator, behavior modifier and when used at the correct times can be very effective. Punishment is said to be useful in modifying the behavior if an individual selects a desirable alternative behavior. However, new research seems to indicate that this approach may be necessary for people learning and adapting in the new world. For the old staff, its effectiveness can becomes a myth if the manager do not know the main problem of their behaviors.
When it is frequently used, punishment or discipline leads to some unfavorable outcomes. The employees see punishment as unmerited with hostile attitude. Instead of taking it as a sign that they need to improve, they tend to do the opposite of what you want which is prone to high levels of stress, mutiny and usually experiences high attrition. Moreover, this type of motivation only works while the motivator is present. When the motivator goes, the motivation also usually disappears. With progressive discipline, repeated punishment, the manager and the employee become stuck in a series of escalating steps, ending in threats and documentation.
The problem is that punishment is not instructive. It cannot teach a new behavior or solve a problem. The employees will not learn unless they recognize the impact of the problem and takes ownership to solve it. Hence, it is time for you to try a new approach: understand your staff to create a positive employee response and prompts a commitment to changed behavior and motivate them wisely.
This approach requires alignment with two key philosophies:
1. Remember that 95 percent of employees are responsible adults. If a problem develops and is brought to their attention, they will want to solve it.
2. By using adult communication, showing confidence and trust, and involving the employee in finding a solution, you will get the desired results.
First, you should use adult communication to describe the specific problem, then state the impact. Stating the impact is important because when people become aware of the consequence and see how it affects others, they want to fix it. However, getting to the root of the problem is also important. “The Five Whys” technique to determine the root cause of a defect or problem by repeating the question "Why?" is one of useful ways to find it out.
With this technique, you can peel away the layers of symptoms and uncover the root cause of a problem. Once you know the cause, it’s much easier to facilitate “the employee’s” solution. By using this approach, you treat people with respect and the positive assumption that — as responsible adults — they will resolve the problem and have motivation to keep working.