Not it at all really

There is a quote that I saw making the rounds on the internet. The quote is often shared by people at work who, feel that the work load is unevenly distributed and the management is acquiescing or worse facilitating the inequity. Ok here is the quote…

When there is no consequence for poor work ethic, and no reward for good work ethic, there is no motivation

JD Roberts
Photo by Lukas on

I am not sue if the quote is legit or apocryphal, however I have seen it and It bugs me, a lot. My immediate response is another turn of phrase or quote that is not apocryphal, I only know of its authenticity because I am a fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories and the quote comes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle through the greatest detective of all time.

The work is its own reward

Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I
Photo by Claudio Mota on

I have been there and seen associates struggle to get their work done during the allotted time. I have covered shifts when life got in the way for my associates and ugly John wanted consequences to rain down on my associates however, consequences would not get the work done and I am pretty sure they would not change the work ethic of the associates. They would simply upset everyone. Now instead of simply covering a shift for my associate I must cover a shift, watch the associate bear the consequences for a poor work ethic and provide a ear in sympathy that associate as well as the manager who is looking to justify their actions.

Consequence and reward is an elementary solution to an complex problem. A good manager needs to understand why the work is not enough reward for the employee that is engaged and more than enough reward for the engaged employee. Perhaps when armed with this knowledge better hiring practices will create a workforce of engaged and happy workers.

When an employees circumstances change a good manage should notice and make adjustments. Directors of managers should first the managers focus on the people then the work results. Maybe a good place to start a conversation with a manager is “how are your employees doing? What does their mental health and morale seem like?” After getting that assessment you should be able to use that as a leading indicator for production unless you have a skills problem.

The bottom line is many problems are problems because they are complex and require more than a pithy and honestly judgmental quote. Before you decide to wish consequences on a fellow associate maybe try helping them enjoy work as much as you do. If nothing else treating others this way has to lead to good Karma right?

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