What NOT to do to Make Friends and Motivate People—Backed by Science

by Ann Connor

In a world where we’ve become ingrained to expect rewards for good behavior and punishment for poor results, it may seem counterintuitive to tell you to abandon it all. But, after recent studies and years of research, that may be just the thing your company needs to boost creativity and progress within your business. Read on for the three things not to do in order to gain respect and motivate your employees.

1) Give Bonuses

While monetary incentives do light a fire under employees to want to perform, it can actually backfire by causing them to focus too narrowly on the task. In other words, those motivated by money tend to hone in on the fastest way to the cash more so than they do on the best way to complete the assignment. So while it’s true that money does motivate, you’d be better off by simply paying a competitive salary so that, while people are enticed to work for you, they wont’ be clouded by additional financial incentives.

2) Threaten Punishment

Instead of striking fear in your staff, be sensitive to their emotions. “Emotions are wired straight into our thinking and cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and reasoning,” says Bufferapp. Don’t derail your employees’ creative reach by causing them to fear the security of their position or feel saddened by the lack of progress they’re making at work. Take it one step further by encouraging an emotionally happy life outside the workplace too, by hosting employee-bonding and community-boosting events.

 3) Thwart Progress

Don’t limit your workforce by forcing them to fit inside a box. Instead, try to encourage their goals, whether they be personal or professional. One way of doing this is by allowing your employees a “day off” from their typical workweek to “play.” Google’s 20% time, where they allow their employees one day a week to work on a self-inspired project—aka anything they can dream up, so long as they present it to the company at the end of the day—is a prime example of this strategy. It’s also responsible for such innovations as Gmail and AdSense. Without the pressure to create, from say a punishment or reward, the possibilities for innovation become endless.

What other dos and don’ts do you believe in for motivation? We’d love to hear from you—share with us!





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