The dark side of motivation: How it can go wrong, and what to do about it

Understanding the dark side of motivation can help mitigate or prevent destructive behaviours and individuals before they become a problem. There are four essential components of preventing dark side potential from becoming destructive behaviour.

1) Oversight

Proper oversight which holds leaders and teams accountable is essential for preventing motivators turning toxic and destructive. Understanding the warning signs and having the tools and knowledge to spot them is essential.

2) Sophisticated measurement

It is necessary to understand what is going wrong in a company or with the leadership to prevent or mitigate the negative effects. Measure and assess motivation, behaviour and performance to detect the early warning signs.

3) Personal support

Derailment and destructive behaviours often grow or become worse in isolation. Those who become frustrated or disillusioned tend to isolate themselves more from dissenting opinions. Trusted friends, spouses, trusted coaches or mentors can mitigate or prevent derailment.

4) Self-awareness

Understanding and awareness of oneself and personal characteristics, peculiarities and situation can help to prevent derailment. Being aware of what kind of situations are likely to incite one’s own destructive behaviours can lead that person to take steps to avoid derailment.

Ian MacRae is the co-author of new book Motivation and Performance: A guide to motivating a diverse workforce, out now, published by Kogan Page, priced £19.99

Image: Shutterstock

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