Categories and Rules of Rewards and Punishments

Creating effective group policies are vital for any strong student group. These “laws” will facilitate your organization’s goals and ensure that everyone is being held to an equal standard. However, before we delve into that, we must first categorize our incentives and explain how best to use them. 

In the next installment of The Fundamentals, we will discuss how to create effective group policies. These “laws” will facilitate your organization’s goals and ensure that everyone is being held to an equal standard. However, before we delve into that, we must first categorize our incentives and explain how best to use them.
Rewards and punishments and levels of transgression tend to be unique depending on the type of student group you’re running. However, as a general rule of thumb, small rewards tend to include private praise, a gift card, and/or opportunities to gain leadership positions. Large rewards tend to include public praise, awards, and/or leadership promotions. Small punishments tend to include private feedback and warnings. Large punishments tend to include reducing ability to participate in events and dis-inviting the member. Small transgressions tend to include coming in late, missing minor events, and/or creating a negative team culture. Large transgressions include any actions that endanger the team’s ability to function or hold major events.
The effects of praise and criticism are magnified when delivered publicly. In most situations, praise publicly and criticize privately. Be especially careful of criticizing someone in public. The magnified shame will often be enough to convince most members to leave the organization. There are certain situations where a transgression is so public and so heinous (e.g. criticizing the physical appearance of another member, being intoxicated at practice, betraying a teammate) that you absolutely must put someone in their place. However, you should err on the side of caution. Public humiliation is not easily forgotten by the member being admonished nor by the members in the vicinity. Creating an unnecessarily critical environment can make all your members wary and risk-averse.

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