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November 22, 2008

“There are two great motivators in life. One is fear. The other is love…” Jan Carlzon

“There are two great motivators in life. One is fear. The other is love. You can manage an organization by fear, but if you do, you will ensure that people don’t perform to their real capabilities. People are not willing to take risks when they feel afraid or threatened. But if you manage people by love – that is, if you show them respect and trust – they start to perform up to their real capabilities. Because, in that kind of atmosphere, they dare to take risks.”
Jan Carlzon, Former CEO, Scandinavian Airlines System

Want fast results? Manage with fear. Scaring the hell out of your people works really well in the short-term.

The trouble is, where fear exists, your people will keep their heads down and do exactly what is expected of them – and no more. And if they are scared enough, just hang around until they have found somewhere safer.

Why would they try new ideas, just in case they get beaten-up when they do? Many decades of ‘command and control’ take some time to shake off in organizations across the globe.

Pain hurts – and no-one inflicts pain on themselves if there is another way out. So, damaged employees keep their heads down to avoid more of the pain that fearful managers heap on them.

Truth is, such behavior is so much more about the manager’s ego, than a desire to manage effectively. So much more is about their own inadequacies to evolve and change.

It’s so much easier to keep beating with a stick, rather than learn new ways. In many ways this is an indicator of the manager’s own frailties, showing up as a bully.

As Carlzon says, there is another way. A way which encourages and develops. A way that sees the future as one where sustainable growth and a workforce with a curiosity for a way of working that is inclusive, rather than exclusive.

Creating a sustainable growing organizational workforce, prepared to risk and challenge, because they feel that they can. Great managers take the time to grow their people through support and encouragement – and lose the stick!

Filed under Great Quotations by Martin

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