"So, how was your last day at work? " I asked Amish , who had left his previous organization and was supposed to join another company next week.
He was quiet for a few seconds and said "Well, it was good but ..." he gave a significant pause .
"You know what , ? Sushil, one of my peers, actually came till the exit gate to see me off in the evening and he said a very unusual thing ... "
"Hmm ... what ? "
"He said that he had learnt many things from me and he valued my contribution to the organization and that he found me very professional and rational ... !"
"Thats good Amish ! But this is not unusual though !"
"But it is !" Amish cried out, "In fact , I told him that if he had articulated this even once to the MD during my stint in the organization, things might have been different ! Everybody fears thie MD and his whims. He does not like to hear anyone negate his views. And me being me, there would be sparks while working with him. It was clear that he did not like me and the rest of the people who matter, never spoke up !"
Classic case of Leading with Fear. And as I hear from Amish, most of the good people have left the organization and the company is at the lowest point
The traditional notion in many organization is that fear is a good thing and benefits the organization. I remember when I had joined an organization, the first thing that my boss had told me was - "Ananya, be strict with your team or else they will not work !"
Well, fear is a good motivator, but if the environment reflects respect, care and love , it becomes much more effective than people mindlessly following orders. A fear-based organization loses its best people and the knowledge they take with them. Just like Amish !
If the organization is being led with fear, it creates an avoidance behaviour in the people , because no one wants to make a mistake and this inhibits growth and change. People will not take any risk because they will fear that failure will not be tolerated. The employees will always follow status quo and will not be able to perform upto their real capability and potential.
If the leaders bind the people with care, compassion, listening and connecting on a personal level, the people will be attracted to work harder, take risks, learn and the the organization will grow and go to the next level !
If the senior leadership show respect and trust , it not only makes the employee work better, they get emotionally connected to their work. On the contrary, if there is fear at work, it will slowly destroy the people's spirit and ultimately, the organization will face a slow death . When there is an atmosphere of fear , the opportunity for getting genuine feedback is throttled. The leaders remain blinded to the ground reality, denying them the chance to take the right decision and change damaging behaviour.
Though competitiveness and ambition are hailed in organizations, love, respect and genuineness are very powerful tools. I remember a sequence in a Hindi Film named "Munnabhai MBBS" , where a medical intern did an experiment with love. There was an old sweeper , who was forever cribbing . He wiped the floors , cleaned the dustbins , sweeped the corridors. No one had ever seen him smiling. Munnabhai, the intern applied his "Jaadu ki Jhappi " (Magic of the hug) on him. One day, when the sweeper was cleaning and cribbing that no one cared about cleanliness and people just littered everywhere, Munnabhai went and stood in front of him. The sweeper scowled and started shouting expletives. Munnabhai did not say anything but hugged him tightly. For a few seconds, the sweeper did not know what was happening. No one had hugged him ever ! And while hugging him, Munnabhai said "I know that you work so hard but no one ever says thank you to you. Everybody is grateful and showers thanks profusely on the doctors , nurses etc, but you, who keep the hospital spic and span , no one notices you ! I am saying thank you on behalf of everybody ! Thank you for all you do ! Please understand that your work is as important as ours!" And then he addressed the sweeper by his name.
And it was really magic . The sweeper was transformed. He smiled ! From that day onwards , he never cribbed. And of course, Munnabhai was a hero for him . When the intern left the hospital, people wept ! Such is the power of love !
Fear based motivation says " You give me a job and I will give you just enough to keep it ".
But a love and respect based motivation says " I will give ALL that I have to offer " ! I feel this the real motivator which makes you feel alive, connected and energized. It meets the unspoken needs , respect and affirmation for the employees.
A fine balance needs to be maintained by the leaders. Sometimes and in some situations, fear is definitely needed . Yes, I agree that rational thinking is important but if it is balanced with love, it builds trust, creativity, a culture of innovation , initiative and enthusiasm.
That one response from Amish's colleague told volumes about the culture of the organization. I sincerely wish that the leaders change their attitude there , else , just like me, can you too not foresee it's future ?