How to Manipulate Employees' Emotions

How to Manipulate Employees' Emotions

Motivation includes two main approaches: rewards and sanctions. Should sanctions be used as a method of motivation? Definitely yes.

Among the vast variety of advice on motivation, trivial or not, the director must choose one strategy to follow: either the carrot or the stick. Let’s agree, there is nothing more important than the human asset - the foundation, upon which the prosperity of the company is built.

The question, therefore, immediately arises of how to lead your company to a success and as a result, motivate the staff for it. Does the image of a perfect leader - an outrider and a mega driver - help? Yes, undoubtedly. But is it the key factor in the success of the company? Hardly so. How many such people do you know personally? In real life, the main point is that the director understands the staff’s needs and creates the correct strategy. A competent director sees his or her mission in supporting employees, but how to do it most efficiently and not to offend anyone?

Motivation includes two main approaches: rewards and sanctions. Should sanctions be used as a method of motivation? Definitely yes. Try to create ideal conditions for your employees - their desire to develop will cease quickly, you would also lose your interest in work if all your wishes are satisfied without exclusions. However, sanctions should not be associated with stereotypes like beating with a stick - there is no need to be prone to extremes. In the civilized world, a reproaching look or a feeling of losing trust are quite enough for someone - a sensitive employee will try to return the trustful relations with the management.

Let the average employee feel his or her importance

Let the average employee feel his or her importance

A common trip of employees to the meeting with a partner will be a good motivation. Tell an employee that you trust him or her and are ready to make important decisions together with him or her. Visits can be divided into two groups: common ones - the greeting, coffee, discussing basic questions and more important ones aimed at developing further partnership or presentation of the new product or development of a common way out of the crisis situation - all these, as a rule, are not the duties of an average employee, but this way you let him or her feel that he or she is really influencing the processes in the company and his or her opinion is important. Listen to your employees. They are the generators of your success.

For example, a client often doesn’t differentiate an average employee and the top-manager, for him or her you represent a company of which he or she requires a certain result, so all are equally involved in the discussion. For a short time, the director and the subordinate stand on the same level which allows a subordinate to feel the future perspectives for development, to put himself or herself in the director’s position.

There should be a place for a family in the company

The family is one of the most important parts of every person’s life. The company must respect its employees and show interest in their life that is why one more important motivation tool is the focus on the family. Let’s agree, the person will be much more willing to work and do his or her best in the company that cares about him or her than in the indifferent one. Support employees’ families, let them keep their work-life balance, arrange parties for children in the company. For example, our company arranged a New Year cards contest. Our employees’ children drew pictures that were then printed on New Year cards and sent out to partners and clients of the company.

Personal fulfilment is the best motivator

There is no perfect system of motivation, variability is important. For example, the most traditional method is material motivation. Let’s discuss its efficiency. On the one hand, endless speculations on the topic that money can’t buy happiness are very relative, because money can’t really buy happiness but can buy freedom. With the help of money, you fulfil your dreams and broaden your horizons. It is difficult to measure happiness, but I am sure that freedom is one of its main elements.

On the other hand, money is a good but short-term motivator. In six months, a person who got a pay rise gets used to this sum - he or she has already taken out a loan, planned all the expenses and it doesn’t seem a motivation for him or her anymore. In this case, if you have already exhausted your budget on the material motivation of the staff, the next effective method will be giving the employee a chance for personal fulfilment since personal fulfilment is important for everyone. It is necessary to create such conditions for the employee that he or she can show himself or herself, feel his or her importance and be acknowledged by colleagues. It can be expanding the duties of the same position, entrusting him or her with an important area of work or fulfilment of his or her ideas. This is often a huge motivation for ambitious and at the same time talented employees.

A feeling of guilt is also a motivator

A feeling of guilt is also a motivator

Much depends on the type of the company and the established corporate culture, but in general, I do not support such motivators as penalties, abasements and other obvious “sticks'' which are widely used by many directors. This works for a certain type of people, but in the majority of cases such methods lead to diametrically opposite results and serve as de-motivators.

For example, a penalty and a pay cut often put the person into a stress or even a panic state which is a strong demotivator and it is hard to get inspired to do any work at all after it. Applying such a method, you get a demotivated employee who will serve as a time-bomb. If we are talking about the motivation, such a method will hardly inspire the employee to develop and improve the quality of work, more likely it is a half of the way to dismissal. In my practice, if I come to a conclusion that the employee doesn’t suit the needs of the company, or we don’t work so well together, it will be much more honest and effective to just part.

To my mind, an efficient non-material negative motivator is to make an employee feel guilty over colleagues and the management that he or she hasn’t fulfilled his or her task. This method is widely used. In this case, of course, there should be a team spirit in the company and the employee must have a certain level of consciousness, but to my mind, this is one of the most negative feelings that one can experience - a feeling that you let down people who relied on you. Raising your voice on other people is a sign or weakness. The director must inspire a sense of confidence and control over the situation by default, at the same time, screaming doesn’t show stability for sure. In “hot” situations the opposite method works best - lowering your voice helps you to achieve a better result. Lowering your tone makes people heed. I try to talk about potential opportunities that have been missed because of the employee’s mistake. The person understands where the mistake was made and wants to get out of the situation as soon as possible. At the same time, he or she sees the attitude to himself or herself and feels the support of the management who put their time and effort to achieve success together. We achieve success only thanks to our people, they are the most precious asset of the company which must be constantly protected and multiplied.

The main rule of motivation is that the director must understand that he or she hires the best people not to stand in their way. That is why an open talk to the staff in a negative situation will have a much better effect than a material sanction. The optimal solution of the problem is very often found in the talk with the employee.

Don’t forget to communicate

I support short-distance authority. Modern business has run off its feet in search of ideas and solutions. So if your inner resource is rich enough to produce them, you will realise your ideas for sure. Talented directors try to see and discover these resources in people around and don’t attempt to keep away from them. This means that a manager of any kind must possess common human qualities and values as well as openness and availability in communication with the employees.

I realised this well in contrast when I was dismissed from professional military service and came to work in a large Western company. The first thing I noticed was that one didn’t have to book an appointment to the director of the company and he didn’t even have a reception room with an assistant though he had over 800 subordinates. One could simply knock on the door and come in with the questions. If he couldn’t spare time at that moment, he told when to come or came himself. One day the director surprised me greatly. I was an average employee but reported directly to him. I needed to go to the tax inspectorate and provide the inspectors with a large number of documents. I wanted to let the director know about it and ask for one of the company cars to take boxes with papers to the inspectorate.

Without any thought, he took the keys of his premium office car out of his pocket and told me that as he flies away for the weekend, I can take the car back to the parking lot on Monday. As you understand, it was strange for a person who just left the military system to expect such an act from his “general”. This shouldn’t be mixed up with undue familiarity. When it came to business, my work was assessed by the principle “Nothing personal but business”. Besides, due to professionalism and personal leadership qualities, no one ever had a doubt who the head was there. So I am for normal personal relations between the management and the staff without any harm for business but with a clear understanding of duties by everyone.

There is no universal guide on how to build communication and motivation for employees - cognition comes through comparison. For the approach to be effective, it must be complex, it is important to find the balance between all components. And, however trivial it sounds, honesty plays a big part - being who you are, without creating false images and stories. Openness with employees is valued the highest.