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Motivating Greatness

Q: What’s the best way to motivate people to great work?
A: Encouraging their potential, not criticizing their shortcomings.

“A few months after my husband and I moved to a small Massachusetts town I grumbled to a resident about the poor service at the library, hoping she would repeat my complaints to the librarian. The next time I went to the library, the librarian had set aside two bestsellers for me and a new biography for my husband. What’s more, she appeared to be genuinely glad to see me.

Later I reported the miraculous change to my friend. “I suppose you told her how poor we thought the service was?” I asked.

“No,” she confessed. “In fact—I hope you don’t mind—I told her your husband was amazed at the way she had built up this small town library, and that you thought she showed unusually good taste in the new books she ordered.”

Lillian Moore

Whether it’s employees or children, shame doesn’t motivate as well as we think it does. Encouragement, and believing the best about a person’s potential are the best motivators for greatness.

Actionable Question: Am I using shame or encouragement to bring out people’s best? 

Source: Reader’s Digest via James Clear