Man, Proud Man….


I can’t help but to often reflect on this Shakespearean quote. “Man, proud man, drest in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what he’s most assur d, glassy essence, like an angry ape, plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven, as make the angels weep.”

I am in the middle of two books on the topic of human motivation. One was written in 1993 titled “Punished by Rewards” authored by Alfie Kohn.  It was a landmark publication at the time if its release and today it is just as appropriate for evoking  thought on how the use of rewards to manipulate desired behavior often backfire – so to does the threat of punishment to discourage unwanted behavior.  This applies to children and adults alike.  Indeed the likely reason it applies to adults is because rewards and punishment were so pervasive in our childhood.

The second book is “Drive” by Daniel Pink. Mr. Pink points to several other research studies beyond the work of Mr Kohn that show we in fact are supplying employees with misguided motivational gimmicks that simply do not provide the deeper inner-drive to excel and as a result do not deliver the real long-term results we seek.

I have also recently read Samuel Culbert’s “Get Rid of the Performance Review”  While Mr. Culbert only touches on the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, he does offer very practical suggestions to strengthening the bond between supervisor and subordinate.

Returning to the quote by Shakespeare with which I began this post, in short I offer as a challenge to all professionals who operate in the capacity of managing others that you view your relationship more as a partnership.  This opens the door to a greater level of trust between the two of you.  I also will postulate that if you hire someone whom you feel requires micro-management, are you not from the onset questioning your own hiring capabilities?  The much more nefarious scenario would be that the hiring person seeks someone to control.

About Matt Gorman

Life-long learner. Collaboration enthusiast. Avid cyclist.
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