Management by Trust Instead of by Fear

An original graphic by Michael W. Campbell that contains the following text. How to use positive rewards to motivate, inspire, and lead. © Copyright 2021 Michael Warren Campbell.
Author: Michael Warren Campbell – Reading Time: 2 min 48 sec.

How positive rewards can get people to do what you want, be part of the team, and work together in a happy environment.

Management is the act of directing, guiding, controlling, administrating for a purpose. How one “manages,” however, is usually up to the individual.

Like teaching and training, management of people usually relies on positive or negative reinforcement for one’s actions. Positive reinforcement can be thought of as building trust, whereas negative reinforcement can be thought of as spreading fear.

Fear focuses on what was done wrong, puts people down, belittles them, makes them feel unworthy. Trust focuses on what was done right, looks at how much was achieved, makes people happy, and more likely to perform even better the next time.

Fear yells at the employees and makes public humiliation a weapon. People will start avoiding public contact with the manager. Trust talks quietly and never reprimands one employee in front of another. Everything that is said remains private, with one-to-one meetings held in a separate room.

Fear says don’t do this, or you’re fired, don’t do that, or you’re fired. Fear holds the job and never gives a sense it is truly yours. Trust leads by example and says do this, providing power and decision-making capability to the employee, making them feel the job is genuinely theirs to do.

No one likes a manager that uses fear. Employee turnover is likely to be very high. Employees probably won’t care. They just punch the clock to get a paycheck. Everyone likes someone they can trust. With trust, employees are likely to put in years of service and take pride in the work they do.

Fear leads to hostility and bitterness between employees. They are not likely to develop friendships or goodwill towards each other. They are likely to compete against each other rather than the actual competition. Trust creates team players, employees who work together for the organization’s common good, realizing they are “in the same boat.” Together – as a company – they sink or swim.

Fear leads employees to say things like, it wasn’t me, it was like that when I found it, I don’t know. Trust leads employees to be accountable for their actions and learn from mistakes. Everyone can help each other prevent the same error from happening again.

Fear destroys creativity and freezes employees into predictable mindless patterns, afraid of change and self-improvement. Trust spawns creativity where employees always think about better ways of doing their jobs. They anticipate and adapt to change and are not afraid of failure or trying new things.

As you can see, all behavior can be modified by using positive reinforcement. If the positive reinforcement happens simultaneously with the action, it increases the likelihood that the positive action will happen again.

By being a positive person, setting a good example, offering encouragement, forgiving mistakes, and talking quietly, people are more likely to listen to you. Especially if you reward them for a job well done. It could be a simple pat on the back, a handshake, or some other little bonus like getting off work early.

That’s the most important thing of all: recognizing all the achievements, even the small ones. Say good catch if someone prevents a mistake. Say good job to a person in front of the other employees and supervisors. For positive reinforcement, recognition of an achievement is the most excellent motivator of all.

Remember, fear is all about punishment. It is an absence of love and compassion. It brings up painful emotions like anxiety, apprehension, and dread. It is impending danger and the expectation of evil.

Trust is all about goodness. It is faith and belief in the integrity, confidence, reliance, and friendship of another person. It is certainty, dependence, assurance, an entirely positive state of mind.

What type of teacher, trainer, parent, and manager will you be?

Michael Warren Campbell

P. S.

What about you? What management tactics have you found to be the most effective? How do you motivate your employees? How do you encourage them to try new out new methods, tools, and technology? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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