Motivating through fear and intimidation or pushing someone to avoid a loss, a cost or a consequence results in the other person pushing to avoid something they don’t want rather than gravitating towards something they really do want. One example of the push structure would be to motivate someone by pushing them into action through threats, such as the loss of their job or a punishment associated with a measurable cost to them if they are not performing up to your expectations.
If people are governed by a fear of being punished or losing their job if they don’t perform, how do you think this affects them, their attitude and their performance? How about the morale of your team? And ultimately, how does this affect your clients? I think it’s safe to say that there’s clearly a measurable cost associated when using these motivational tactics.
Now more than ever our society is consumed with fear and the threats from others. We are living in a period of intense fear and leadership in many organizations is fear based. Here’s a key point. You cannot inspire others when you are afraid and you can’t be inspired when your mind and your soul are full of fear and worry.
Now, imagine what it would be like if you and your staff came to work every day feeling happy, fulfilled, committed and supported? How much would your bottom line increase? I promise substantially.
The good news is that you have the power to create this environment by taking full responsibility for the moral and for the culture that you have bred within your team. After all, if we are all responsible for our communication, which also includes the message being received, then we can conclude that we are then responsible for the barriers, breakdowns and problems that are a result of faulty communication. And if we are responsible for these problems that stem from poor communication, then we must also be responsible for the culture or moral within our company because ultimately, a corporate culture is manifested through communication.
The threat of a consequence is a very effective push structure, given that we humans have been taught to fight or flee when threatened. So, consequence works, unfortunately at a great expense to our bodies, minds and hearts.
Other than using or being used by potential negative consequences to get the job done, the more effective and less costly fuel to drive performance is called pleasure.
Imagine what would your day be like if it was motivated by pleasures instead of avoiding or attempting to stay one step ahead of a consequence? We’re pulled by pleasures; we’re pushed by consequences. Pushing requires effort to continue the momentum. Being pulled towards something happens as a byproduct of natural attraction and magnetism. As I had alluded to earlier, an example of a pull structure would be to motivate employees by offering to support them in creating work they were proud of which centered around their personal vision, natural talents and goals.
In order to shift from consequence to pleasure it not only requires a change in your beliefs around how to motivate people but also in your communication strategy and the language you are using.