Goodbye carrots and sticks

It’s a frequent topic of discussion with many chorus leadership teams – How do we motivate members to show up?  To pass their qualifications sooner?  To learn their music earlier?  To take personal responsibility?  

Most of us in the mid-life age bracket grew up with the common “Carrot and Stick” motivational method of reward and punishment wherein good behavior was rewarded, and poor behavior was punished. We, in turn, frequently use that technique in our role as leaders to motivate others, still confused by why chorus members don’t step up to the plate and consistently take personal responsibility.

Motivating by fear may work in the short-term, however, the negative  emotional effects of a “Carrot and Stick” approach on individuals and the chorus culture are significant.  And the use of rewards as a motivational technique can actually serve to undermine one’s self-motivation, thus reducing the possibility of one taking personal responsibility.

Carrots and Sticks are so last century”, says Daniel H. Pink, in his brilliant new book, DRIVE – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Pink refers instead to 3 essential elements of true motivation (autonomy, mastery and purpose) that connect to create the most powerful form of motivation of all – intrinsic motivation – that which comes from within.

Pink says thattraditional ‘if-then’ rewards can actually give us less of what we want and can serve to diminish performance and crush creativity.”

I highly recommend Pink’s book to anyone in a leadership position.  

Cheers,

Jan Carley, Inner Coach of Barbershop www.innercoachofbarbershop.com

author, Harmony from the Inside Out  www.harmonyfromtheinsideout.com

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