The writer and psychotherapist Anthony de Mello writes: ‘Some say there are only two things in the world, love and fear.’
These two forces drive most behaviour and are commonly used in the workplace to influence others:
- Sales training encourages the sales person to demonstrate the consequences of not buying – fear.
- Customer care as the name suggests is principally about caring for the customer – love
In teams we use a combination of both forces to motivate ourselves and our team mates. Particularly in a challenging economy, we are fearful for our job security. We are afraid of leaving work early in case our colleagues feel we aren’t pulling our weight. The increased demands on our attention from senior managers and the constant flow of information can breed a sense that we are in danger of drowning under the workload.
Yet, whilst fear is unquestionably a powerful force it is rarely positive – it tends to motivate us to do less, take fewer risks and shy away from opportunities. Whereas recognition, or love, can inspire us to achieve more, to take chances and to go the extra mile for others. No matter how self assured we might be, we all thirst for recognition. And when we receive it the memory imprints itself in our mind, like a foothold from which we can press on to reach new heights. If this sounds too poetic, then think back to the first time you won an award. Whether it was recently or years ago the memory will be strong and there’s probably a pulse within you that’s always on the lookout for ways to re-live that feeling of appreciation.
So, in your team this week find some ways to show more appreciation, ban unstructured criticism and replace it with praise – catch people doing things right. And if you think the fear is too great remember that of the two, love is the greater force. (See our Valentine’s blog)
“ What is love?”
“The total absence of fear,” said the Master.
“What is it we fear?”
“Love,” said the Master.
Anthony de Mello (1931 – 1987)