“You can motivate by fear, you can motivate by reward, but both those methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self motivation.”
I once worked at company that decided to adopt the strategy of motivation by fear. It may have seemed effective on the surface, but morale became terribly eroded. The once friendly and family like environment turned into a tense and uncomfortable place to be. The fear was palpable.
Everybody was worried about their “number,” it was so bad people, were afraid to hydrate themselves properly throughout the day because going to the bathroom took precious time and impacted the “number.” Even jobs that weren’t originally so “number” based became all about that elusive number.
Veterans with years of tribal knowledge were no longer valued for their contributions unless they could make their “number,” and even then, they really weren’t valued. The writing was on the wall, younger, disposable workers were obviously preferred. Older workers were not. Some tried to apply out to other jobs and were continually blocked and demoralized into submission, sometimes only for the company to accrue enough “evidence” to finally let them go.
It was, and still is a horrible tragedy and a gross waste of human talent and potential.
I saw the writing on the wall, and I found as time went on, I could not continue to watch and experience this sort of treatment of once valued human beings, who were only viewed as “numbers” now. So yes, I finally got out, the hope that I would finally be seen again as a valuable employee finally left me altogether. I decided to go back to school and learn a new skill, web development. Of course, I still second guess myself, could I have made it work? But my husband can answer that question for you, he says that I am finally smiling again, I am no longer a bare wire. That it is so nice that I am not so hyper vigilant with fear and paranoia anymore, that less money is better than living with that again.
So how do you motivate people to work for you, to give you their absolute best? I am lucky, I also experienced this at that very same company years earlier. Respect, simple respect is all it takes. I had bosses that demonstrated just that, bosses who respected our talents and contributions, but also realized as humans we would have our off days, and that was ok, because most days were on. Bosses I came to respect so much that had they asked me to clean a toilet, I would have, because they were the type of bosses who would never ask you to do something they themselves would not do.
I guess that is my litmus test. That is the type boss that I would aspire to be, to motivate with pure respect and to not ask my employees to do things I myself wouldn’t be willing to do if necessary.