Ralph Waldo Emerson and his son once were struggling to get a calf into the barn. Both father and son were exhausted, pulling and pushing. A little girl was passing by. She put her little finger into the calf’s mouth, allowing it to suck, and the calf lovingly followed her to the barn.
The above story illustrates two opposite ways for getting a thing done. On one side the father and son duo were struggling to make the calf move who had no reason to move. Contrary to that the girl accomplished the task easily by just giving the calf the reason to follow her.
This is a usual behaviour we see where we want the things to be done and are busy in forcing people to do something, ignoring their psychological need to connect with the reason behind the goal. The reason can be something for the overall system and also something that is for the individual. To put our energy into something we have to feel the connection and dynamics around that change else it becomes a command. Commands generally get mechanical reactions and not whole hearted involvements. It is always a booster to find a reason in whatever we are engaged in.
As a mentor or guide in any role, like that of a parent, teacher or manager, it is critical and also constructive to add and specify a reason behind our teaching or assignments. Naturally we are born to look for reasons. A child will always a “WHY” for anything demanded from him. It is the continuous suppression and reprimand that kills the quest and we become mechanical.
The work cultures can get more efficient and proactive efforts if they give the work force numerous reasons, just like the calf. If people can find the reason, we don’t have to push them, the reason will do that for us.
So next time when we want people around us to get involved and take up responsibility, make the environment such that they find their reason. The organizations that give their resources ample reasons for their hard work get a dynamic and healthy work culture on floor.
There are different ways we can add the pointers to the work for people to find and connect with their reasons. Some of them can be
• Give recognition and reward: Making a holistic reward mechanism as part of work culture boosts productivity.
• Give Respect: It is the basic right for all human, be considerate on same.
• Provide opportunities for growth.
• Provide training to learn new things. Evolving the resources keeps the organization always rich of the talent.
• Add transparency and fun to the work. Material reward is always important, however the psychological peace and serenity of workplace always add to the benefit and something people to look forward to.
• Give challenge: Let people struggle, be a support in their struggle but never take away their chance to struggle. Give them space and time to struggle and learn.
These are few ways, there can be many that we can add as a teacher, parent or mentor. The crux is that people do things for their own reasons, not ours. If we can add their reason in our agenda we can find the support and team.