Friday, 24 February 2012

Pitting People Against Each Other, Why Do It?

Have you ever wondered why leaders have a tendency to pit people against each other in what they think is merely a friendly competition to create a bit of a buzz, or to motivate in some way?

Everywhere I go, whether in work or social environments I see and hear the well intentioned banter that is supposed to be "pushing people together" or "motivating". I felt humorously compelled to write this when out recently and saw a youth football team training together publicly.

Picture the scene, loads of youngsters trying to impress their coach, friends and passers-by as they go through their training session. Each have their own levels of skill and ability and the dynamics are fascinating to watch. What I observed was typical of any work or social environment containing adults, the "motivation" and "team work" strategy used was to pit the youngsters against each other, poke fun, highlight failure and weakness as a way of "snapping them out of it" and pulling them all together. I smiled to myself as I recognised my own youth and that this is a typical scene everywhere you go where humans interact.

This is how many people in leadership roles (at work or within a community) assume that they can get best results from people in their team or group. It is ingrained as a tactic to get the best results, it's harmless and works... right?

I can tell you for sure, that this strategy can and probably is tearing the team or group apart!. 

Why? All of us carry within us a range of insecurities and needs (many hide them extremely well and you would not guess). Bringing up sensitive issues to try and motivate or stimulate competition and energy, or ignoring the visual tension displayed and playing favourites, or using sarcasm to make a point, are all ways to stir up issues.  It drives resentment, frustration, insecurities and divides people.

Next time you see this tactic being used, at work , at home or socially, watch what goes on within the group. Watch the reaction of those under the leaders spot light (their body and use of language). Ask yourself, I wonder what is going on in their minds right now, and how they will feel in a couple of hours time. Also, ask yourself if the person with the spot light is even aware of what they are doing.
No one likes to feel small in front of their peers, siblings or team mates; even if the thinking is that it’s the push they need to improve or get the message.  It simply doesn't work as a way of jolting people into action and competing against each other.

How you actually motivate people and teams is by getting to the heart and mind of each person. You need to establish (yes take the time to research the person), what they are driven by and  then, simply by using positive language - that the person relates to and recognises -  you can motivate them unconsciously! You can make them aware of what they need to do, as well as make them feel they can do it, by communicating in their own language (through the way that they look at life and what human needs are driving them unconsciously).
Why concern yourself with this? 
The same understanding and ability to communicate in a deeper way, helps you to form the types of connections with people that you have never thought possible.

Imagine being able to interact better and more successfully at work! Imagine being able to spot a conflict coming and defuse it! Imagine being able to get better results simply by knowing the person better and connecting with them in a way that by-passes fake smiles and distracted dialogue.

Reality shows are all the rage, why? because we are fascinated with other humans (as well as animals), yet we don't know very much about what is going on. We yearn for tips to use to get better results (Super Nanny, Dog Whisperer, etc).

Stick with me and I will help you to build up an understanding of what is going on around you, and how to navigate your way to a more fruitful life and work experience. Why? because it will make life less frustrating and complex if you can understand the types of behaviours around you - and what causes them!

Take a look at the previous Posts to get an insight into Human Needs. I will be putting up a range of video's on my website, which will also appear on You Tube.

Go on, why not subscribe!
Until next time...... Jay

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