Recently this idea of motivation reared its ugly head. It was when someone close to me was completely de-motivated, that made me think about why external and sometimes
internal forces can change the balance of motivation from self propelled, to a halting stop.
Many times we work on the carrot and the stick premise. If I do “this” then my reward will be “that”, and the “that” may be either positive or negative. This type of motivation works, for the short term, but over time we lose interest and, low and behold, we find ourselves where we started, and maybe even less likely to work toward the goal. This is the basic premise for most jobs, you are hired to work, agree upon a wage, and then off you go to preform your duties.
But what keeps us interested in the work we do, the goals we have set, or the plans that we make? From where does the motivation come and then what sustains our enthusiasm? A recent study showed that if heart doctors tell their seriously at-risk heart patients that they will literally die if they do not make changes to their personal lives-diet, exercise, smoking- still only 1in 7 were able to make those changes. We could assume that the other 6 also wanted to continue to live. One would think that the threat of death would be motivation enough, but change is difficult.
So what would it take, what would motivate the change? Read more in Immunity to Change by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laslow Lahey
Many studies have been done that indicate that this emotional kidnaping, as a way to motivate others, is not successful. Whether they are those close to us, or our work mates. An article in the Harvard Business Review, explores the idea of compassion vs. toughness as a better management technique.
We know all of the studies and statistics on how to better our relationships especially in the work arena; so then why do we revert to threats as a way to motivate others into conforming or producing a better work product?
My thought is that we feel threatened and a fear creeps in that takes over our instincts and better judgment. Facing and exploring our own fears may be a helpful way to feel better about ourselves and better able to interact with and motivate others.
This is the one key to successful relationships in hospitality, with employees and guests alike; to be less reactive and more in touch with our empathy and compassion, which allows us to keep the conversation alive.