It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written. Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.
Have you noticed the threats flying around this political season? Not in-your-face threats, but the subtle kind; the kind that end with an implied ‘or else’. And some not so subtle, with the ‘or else’ loud and clear. ‘Or else’ may be common, and even acceptable, in politics, but when used as a management tactic the results are always negative. Read other Golden Oldies here.
How often do you (or your boss) add “or else” or words to that effect when assigning a project or discussing a deadline?
It happens more than you would think.
The threats are rarely direct—Do it or start looking.
More often, they are subtle, unstated—I expect employees who work here to be team players.
Have no doubt, the threat is there: Do X if you want to keep your job.
Anyone who’s ever been on the receiving end of a threat will tell you that they aren’t exactly motivational.
What they are is atrocious management.
Threats are costly not only to the threatEE, who loses confidence and the threatenER, who loses credibility, but also to the organization itself for allowing it to happen.
Far worse is the ripple effect that the sows seeds of a self-propagating culture of intimidation.
Threats kill creativity, innovation, motivation, caring, ownership, in fact, everything that it takes to compete in today’s economy.
Managers who choose to use ultimatums as a motivational tool should not be surprised when employees respond with their feet.
Flickr image credit: James Cridland