Weekly Work Ethic: Fear vs Love. Which is the greater motivator?

Weekly Work Ethic: Fear vs Love. Which is the greater motivator?

Posted by Luis Majano
Apr 18, 2006 00:00:00 UTC

You can see the previous work ethic subjects by clicking here.

 This was a very controversial issue in our office and it definetely created some nice comments, and some weird ones.

 Here was mine:

The greatest motivator should be love. Fear might work in the small spectrum, but this will not grant respect or leadership. Love & Patience should be your greatest asset in any situation.


Again, this is something I've learned from my kids. I've sometimes threatened my kids or tried to scare them into doing something (I call this Fear). They may do it, but usually they don't want anything to do with me after - I've alienated them. And I know that if I continue treating them that way as they grow, they will reach a point where all they want to do is to move out of the house and go live on their own. But if I sit with them and explain to them how important they are to the family and let them know that I need their help to make the family better, ie I let them know their value to me (I call this Love) - Wow, things get done and everyone is at peace. Fear is easy to do - that's why we do it so often. Love is hard, it requires a lot of patience and self control. So what does this have to do with us here at work? Well, how do you try to motivate someone to do something - through Fear or Love. With fear a person will only do so much. With love they will do so much more. With fear, a person will follow you so far until they say "Ya, No Mas". But with love they will follow you to the end...

Here are some interesting comments:

 Definitely Love. With fear of course you can make things happen only for short time. There is a limit for how much one can tolerate. And once it reached, then no fear will work. There will be a revolution. History has proven. Adolph hitler, Idi Amin, Suddam hussain and many big dictators regime vanished.

But at the end in a work environment the ultimate motivator will always be fear... fear of loosing your job and not being able to support your family. Of course, Assuming that you are not the owner of the company, in which case what drives you is something completely different. For Love to be the motivator at work you need to feel yourself deeply identified with the company, feel that its success is also your success (and not the rich owner's success). How do you do that? I have no clue.

 it all comes back to respect for each other and employees. And more importantly, showing appreciation for a job well done... just to hear commendation makes a huge difference in motivation and employee attitude.

I think love is the driving force behind motivation. Not love of a FAM trip or love of another person, it has to do with your love of the job. You have to love what you do. If you love it, you take pride in your work. You take care to do a good job. You work harder to make deadlines. The clock should not be a deciding factor on when you leave, the task at hand should be.

Fear is the worst motivator out there. People, we are quite possibly the best darn team in the building.The quickest way to lose such a fantastic crew of workers is to employ fear as a motivator. This is because strategies that implement fear not only cause performance levels to go down, but it eliminates the desire to compete. While fear forces compliance, it almost never results in superior performance. We must also realize that fear is not conducive to creating respect. Management 101.

 Lesson of the day... fear can easily burn out the best of us. The envelope can be pushed only so far before it is realized that there are more important things to do in this short life rather than let fear control us. "Scratch my back a little nuh." Even out some of the work load. Love is the key, respect is the most wonderful thing that can be shown to an employee. Lets break down the Burlin wall! I have a dream! "Come here nuh!"




Let's throw LEADERSHIP in the discussion. Leaders lead with forsight, understanding and compassion... for the mission as well as the individuals who ultimatey make success possible. Iron fists might work well occasionally, but at the end of the day we see better results if a team is pushing forward because of motivation rather than being driven down the road by force.

Site Updates

Entry Comments


Entries Search