Punishing Out the Little Things

February 07 2022
By: Shawn M. Galloway

Recently a relative stayed the weekend with us; to guests in my home, mi casa es su casa. Thirsty, she grabbed something out of the fridge, and within, she noticed the warped orange juice container donning a reduced-price sticker. She shared, "I used to fix these." Elaborating, when she was younger, she worked for a large chain of grocery stores. Whenever stocking similar beverage containers, she would go out of her way to fix the bottles, thus negating the need to be marked down at a reduced price to sell. Punishing Out the Little Things She estimates she likely saved the store a couple of thousand dollars.

While her immediate supervisor took note and thanked her for this discretionary effort on little things, the store manager did not. The manager was one of the "manage by exception" types of leaders, only providing team feedback when things were not going to plan. "I felt constantly punished," she added. Without balanced feedback and, in fact, mostly negative, discretionary behaviors like fixing the containers came to a stop. When pride exists in the workplace with healthy and robust relationships between the workforce and management, people will go above and beyond.

We all know the importance of positive feedback, especially if we are married or have children. But for some reason, we often forget to bring this behavior to work. Seek out the little things people are doing outside of their job responsibilities and do that difficult thing we all know is essential but often forget. Say thank you.

"A lot of the values of millennials are shared by all of our generations. Who doesn't want purpose, feedback and balance?" - Julie Sweet

"Employees who report receiving recognition and praise within the last seven days show increased productivity, get higher scores from customers, and have better safety records. They're just more engaged at work." - Tom Rath






Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 650 podcasts, 200 articles and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow and Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers.