Is spanking employees effective? Probably not, if you apply the findings of a recent survey on the effects of spanking with children. A recent Time Magazine article reports that :
“ children’s short-term response to spanking may make them act out more in the long run. Of the nearly 2,500 youngsters in the study, those who were spanked more frequently at age 3 were much more likely to be aggressive by age 5…The odds of a child being more aggressive increased by 50% if he had been spanked.” Read more
It’s pretty simple really, corporal punishment instills fear instead of understanding and repeated reinforcement leads to the following.
- Aggressive behavior becomes the answer to problems
- Spanking has a downward spiral; it becomes less effective the more it’s used
- It spreads to other children. Kids copy kids.
We see much the same logic when it comes to man’s best friend. Beating the hell out of your dog because it misbehaves is the worst thing to do if you want to train it: you create a downward spiral by relating good behavior to fear.
Cesar Millan the famous dog whisperer, is all about this – he focuses on training the owner, not the dog.
Much of this logic can be applied to life inside the office.
Ok, we don’t have literal spanking at work for the most part (there are exceptions of course and usually they prove to be costly – “Woman spanked at work sues for $1.2m“) but it does happen in the figurative sense pretty often. We all know about the Sergeant Major boss who thinks yelling and belittling employees is the way to lead.
Here’s something to think about.
Does ruling by fear at work have a similar effect to spanking a child?
- Aggressive behavior becomes the answer to problems (child) ===> Communication & team work dies because nobody listens and everyone confronts (work)
- Spanking has a downward spiral (child) ===> Motivation is killed and employees eventually switch-off. A culture of “Tell-me-what to do” vs “hear what i think” ensues (work)
- It spreads to other children. Kids copy kids (child) ===> A company becomes what the boss does. The destructive culture spreads like a virus