Your Monthly Inspirational Newsletter – September 2014

Dear Everyone,

Hi! And how are you all? August was a relatively quiet month and hence I had time to work on a HR book that I am presently writing.  I also had a great time watching the World Badminton Championships, although I was a little disappointed and sad for Lee Chong Wei. Sometimes even great players never achieve all their goals!

Look at the picture below and tell me what you think? I use this picture in my training a lot as an illustration of fear motivation.

When we talk about motivation, we always think of tangibles i.e. motivating people with praise, motivating people with money etc. These are all good ways to motivate employees, but please do not discount the use of fear motivation. In the picture above, it is true the masked man is an expert motivator; the difference is that he only uses fear motivation.

Fear is a good motivator in the right situations at the workplace. For example, as we want to keep our jobs we adhere to company rules because we fear disciplinary being taken against us. If someone breaks these rules, then he gets a warning letter i.e. putting fear into him that because of this letter it will affect his career and his salary reviews and bonus at the end of the year. Let’s now take an extreme example. Someone tells you to dance naked on a busy street and is willing to give you a billion ringgit.  Many will do it, but many will not because of morality. However those who will not will surely do so if a gun is pointed at their children’s heads. So which is the more powerful motivator in this case? It was the fear for the safety of their children, not the one billion ringgit! That’s how powerful fear motivation can be.

Fear motivation must however be used wisely, as too much of fear motivation can stifle employees, and that is something we can do without at the workplace. A balance would be the best option i.e. giving tangibles like time off, buying a lunch to motivate and at the same time, not being afraid to using disciplinary procedures, warning letters to motivate when the employee has not performed or broken rules. In my experience, all the best managers and leaders I know were never afraid to use fear motivation and were very good at using it at the right time and right place.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I do hope that in a small way, I have assisted in improving your knowledge about motivation! Have a great month in September.

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