Eliciting top performance in employees is the essence of management.
And one of the most effective ways to motivate employees is to instill a sense of pride.
Very often, managers try to command and control by instilling a sense of shame or fear: managers use these emotions when they are either unwilling or unable to persuade employees to meet expectations. Sure, shame and fear get results, but they do so at a cost: employees not only behave irrationally when they’re afraid or put to shame, but also become stressed, lose self-confidence, and grow resentful towards the manager and the organization.
The best way to motivate positive change is to invoke pride; try, “Jeremy, I am disappointed with your performance [on this task]. Given how well you did [an excellent job] on [a previous assignment], I know you can do a lot better than this.” This technique conjures up in the employee a sense of pride about a great previous performance and invokes a sense of guilt about failing to excel as before.
Pride is the most prominent element of intrinsic motivation that can be levered effectively to instill change. Remember that extrinsic motivation is in itself pointless; people will change only if intrinsically motivated.
Idea for Impact: Whether you’re managing or parenting, if you want to penalize, instill shame or fear; if you want to create positive change, instill pride.
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