Motivation without fear – Part 3

Motivation without fear – Part 3

The four external motivators an employer can use are fear, paying money rewards for work done, demonstrating pride in accomplishments that he sees as useful and recognition of those employees who succeed. The two internal motivators that propel each of us to greater achievements are providing for others who depend on us and our own fulfilment or happiness. All of these except fear depend on a timescale related more to our life-span than to a series of roller-coaster thrills. Fear, and its absence, are effective minute-by-minute.

Employees are not the only people who need motivating, leaders need it, too. Given their expected superior intellect they should be able to motivate themselves. Certainly as far as money rewards go they have been lavish to the point of excess doing so in recent years. That excess is now coming home to roost. Big gorillas do not need to show off but leaders need to receive appraisals just as much as their employees. Who judges them and how?

There is some fear or threat inherent in all our dealings with other people. Assertiveness is by definition putting pressure on them. A world without any assertiveness would be a dreary and slow-paced place indeed. The question is what sort of assertiveness we should apply. Brute force is clearly wrong even – or especially – at Guantanamo Bay. Many people believe that as we move further away from brute force so our effectiveness diminishes. In a world where there is no alternative to force that is true. It is the law of the jungle, not of humans.

Human beings with our incredible creative and reasoning abilities have developed technologically well beyond the jungle. Yet it would seem that we have many jungle instincts ready to leap into action if our inventiveness fails to provide better alternatives to them. Why are we so mechanically clever and so emotionally undeveloped?

The answer lies in our perception of what life is for. If we have no purpose beyond the emotional and physical dominance of others we will soon be unhappy with who we are and what we are doing. Our dealings with others therefore need to be of the sort that will develop them to their best potential. Only by doing so do we develop ourselves towards our life goals.

Motivation without fear is not, therefore, some management trick or formula checklist. It is a realisation of the purpose we have found or invented for ourselves in directing a substantial part of our lives to the benefit of others. They may be the destitute or disadvantaged or they may be the employees we manage every day, the colleagues who make up our life. We do not need to search for people to help, they are staring us in the face.

To motivate fearlessly is to elevate human integrity above jungle basics. It sounds selfless but is in fact quite the opposite because its rewards are seen not in the figures on the bottom line but in the figure reflected in the mirror.

And that figure is you.