Woo hoo! It’s Day 22 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’m feeling the benefits of writing consistently. My eyes, ears, heart and mind are open to inspiration all around me and I love expressing myself creatively using all of my God-given strengths in a way that I pray will encourage and inspire other Pink Collar women to be serene at home, smart at work, to own their sense of style, to be balanced and to live their best lives. The joy I derive from writing comes from my Creator, so I live out my purpose to bring glory to Him. Using some of the knowledge I was able to acquire while earning my Masters in Leadership and Coaching, along with an Executive Coaching Certificate, to blog on a Pink Collar Power series is rewarding.
Which brings me to the last type of power that falls under the Formal Power category. Reward power refers to the the ability to distribute organizational incentives. Positive performance evaluations, merit increases, opportunities for advancement and promotions are all rewards that are used by the person who holds the power to influence performance. When Pink Collar women in positions of power use reward power appropriately, it is a great source of motivation. If rewards are distributed through favoritism, however, this inappropriate use can demotivate employees. It is the same in the home. Mothers are also in a position to allocate rewards in a family. When children’s positive behavior is reinforced with special privileges, purchases, or treatment (within reason) this can motivate them to repeat that behavior. Conversely, if rewards are seen to be bestowed based on parental preference, it can greatly discourage the other children.
Mary Kay Ash of Mary Kay Inc. could be credited as using reward power more effectively than any other leader. The Car Program this Pink Collar Savvy & Chic business woman developed in 1969 to incentivize top Mary Kay Consultants is still one of the most famous (or infamous depending on who you ask) uses of reward power. Though there are questions about how many consultants actually earn the coveted pink Cadillacs, there is no doubt Mary Kay understood reward power and maximized its use.
Working in a non-profit agency, though I lead a team of staff and volunteers, I’m in no position to distribute rewards. Good thing it’s been proven that most people value appreciation more than any other incentive, monetary or otherwise. And it’s literally a bonus that the work we do supporting our clients is rewarding in and of itself. Still, I go out of my way to heap genuine, deserved praise on the individuals on my team. I seek them out and thank them for their time and talent contribution to their Coachees and acknowledge the invaluable role they play as change agents. I’m fully aware that they don’t have to be there, so I try to ensure they want to be. In fact, though I recognize them when they attend Commencement once their Coachee finishes our twelve week program, I just suggested a more formal recognition be incorporated into the ceremony.
At home, I try to take time and be intentional about catching others doing good things. When I acknowledge effort vs. product (i.e. studying hard vs. the actual grade), I hope I’m reinforcing that behavior so they’ll want to repeat it – not just to receive my accolades, but because of the satisfaction that comes from the process and being their best.
As Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose women in the workplace and on the home front, when we wield our reward power well, though we may not be able to provide Pink Cadillacs, we fuel and empower our employees, teams, volunteers, and loved ones to go the distance in style.