Performance Punishment Stinks and is Hurting Your Organization

You’re good at what you do. You are really good. You know the way it goes. More work comes your way because you truly rock! Then more comes your way without a bonus, pay increase or recognition. Now, you’re overworked, burning out and pissed.

This is performance punishment, and managers/leaders are doing this to high achievers all the time. Doing more and more should be paid. Being awesome should not be punished.

According to a study by the American Institute of Stress, 62% of employees experience high levels of stress, undermining workforce productivity. Yikes! This is bad for employees and for business on many levels.

Imagine a 5’ piece of white paper on a wall and you are standing 5’ away with a handful of spaghetti and delicious sauce. Now, throw that handful at the paper and look at how it spreads. That is how some managers assign work! Little thought, just tossing crap in your direction knowing that you’ll get it done. Or figure out a way to get it done.

High performing individuals should/must be supported with pay, time off and less work. Not doing this will result in anger, distrust of management, a lack of caring/complacency-which affects productivity, and they will look for other opportunities at another company.

To be fair, high performing individuals shoulder part of the blame as they are above average, keen to getting things done and skilled to make things happen with what appears to be ease.

What to do?

There are 3 steps you/we can take to assist great and high performing individuals.

1) Give them less work and more support.

On the surface, this makes sense. However, people are busy at work and neck deep in their own work. Noticing, leading and adjusting workloads can often be overlooked.

According to, If an organization promotes a culture that values work-life balance, boundaries, and learning and development opportunities, employees are more likely to feel supported.

As an organization, this is an advantage we are looking for! Plus, there is a subtle art (which takes practice) in knowing how to say no to more work as I have discussed in previous blogs and newsletters.

2) Provide transparency.

While there may be times when you decide to take on extra work, you may also have situations arise where you have to say no. This can be hard if you’re early in your career or seeking approval from people who have power over your advancement. This form of exercise will get easier when practiced and can help you manage the workload placed on your desk.

Quiet promotion or performance punishment. You choose the description. Either way, you’re not being compensated for doing more and more work. But you can you something about it.

3) New position within the company, change departments or change jobs.

Some of us like where we work, but not our job. Others don’t like their manager. Please, please remember that this is YOUR life, and YOU make the calls. No one else.

Looking for another opportunity at work can a good option as you already understand the culture. However, leaving your jobs mean lots of work too, such as finding a new job, several interviews, etc. In addition, not that it is your problem, but once you leave there will be a big void to fill; and this is often split between staff who are already busy.

Your possibilities include to stay and work through it, change departments or find another job. All are good options as long as you place your best interests, your job satisfaction, mental and emotional well-being as top priority.

I don’t know what your job is nor your role. I do know that you deserve to be treated well and if you are overworked, underappreciated or receiving performance punishment that it up to you to make a move. Be brave. Be bold. Be the best you on your terms!