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Two negatives don’t make a positive – Negative Motivation harms

August 29, 2013

A friend, working as Process Lead with a Financial Outsourcing Service company in India, recently shared a strategy he uses to manage his team performance. Anyone in his team who makes an error (he works in a billing process) loses 15 min of tea break to compensate for the damage. He was proudly calling it his “Performance Management strategy”.

It’s surprising to see such intimidating behavior still being practiced. While “employee motivation” is critical for organizational success, conditioning employees to act under fear is no motivation – the appropriate term is “Negative Motivation”.  Can such a behavior pattern improve performance? In my opinion it can only produce forced results without instilling the motivation to succeed. Try recalling your school days, did it ever feel motivating and exciting to study a subject taught be an apathetic and punishing teacher? Such behavior can only make a student secure grades but cannot develop his interest in the subject.signs2

I am reminded of an interesting Mathematics rule here

            ( – 2 ) + (- 6) =  ( – 8 )

“Two negative numbers add to make another negative”

The equation holds true in case of employee motivation too..

Demotivated Employee + Negative Motivation= Highly demotivated Employee

Negative Motivation is a form of negative treatment when employees are forced to perform and work under threat, pressure and punishment. Such a behavior can at times, give short-term benefits but fails miserably in long-term. Employees lose trust in their Manager, Management and the organization and look out for options resulting in greater employee turnover.

The real success lies in happy, enthusiastic and participating employees and it can easily be achieved by motivating them in the right manner.

If you have come across any case of “Negative motivation” , why not share it here…

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