By Michael Gidlewski
How do leaders change the attitudes and behaviors of the people they lead to meet the organization’s mission, vision, and goals?
Negative attitudes and poor behavior can lead an organization down a spiral fall that is difficult to come out of. In order for a leader to be successful, the leader must be able to influence the attitude and behavior of followers.
Notice that I said “influence” because ultimately all people are motivated by their own personal reasons and not ours. The best we can do is create a culture and a motivational climate in which your people want to be the best version of themselves and produce the best results.
Since motivation serves as a catalyst to focus the individual’s full potential on accomplishing goals, it is important to gain an understanding of the various methods of motivation. To explain how we do this, over the course of three weeks, I’m going to share with you three basic ways people are motivated.
The first one is fear/intimidation.
Fear motivation has been around for a very long time. It is probably the oldest type of motivation. The biggest and strongest people survived and controlled and ruled the weaker people. People are motivated because they fear losing their jobs, they fear the boss, or they fear the feelings of failure.
Fear motivation – based on force, coercion, intimidation, or punishment – may work for a while, but people who are its target soon learn to ignore the pressure, rebel against it, develop resentments, seek revenge, or walk away from it. People build up an immunity to fear and intimidation motivation. They learn to work just hard enough to keep the person they report to off their backs or they don’t do anything without checking with them to make sure it’s okay.
Fear motivation disappears as soon as the threat of negative consequence is removed. Fear ceases to motivate if the power to inflict punishment is gone. Fear, too, is an important motivator, but if people are primarily motivated by fear, the results cannot be positive or healthy. Fearful people don’t grow, develop, and live up to their potential.
Fear motivation is external; somebody has to provide the fear. When fear is used as a motivator, its effects are temporary. People either find a way to escape from fear or they become immune to it. Either way, fear motivation eventually fails.
Next week, I will discuss incentive motivation.
Michael Gidlewski is President of West Chester-based Achievement Unlimited, Inc., as well as a growth catalyst and motivational speaker. He works with motivated business owners and entrepreneurs to clearly define the elements of what they dearly want their businesses and lives to look like, then helps them connect all the moving parts that make up those visions to consistent action and habits. Michael can be reached at 610-793-6609 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.