- It’s not personal, it is just ________.
- The purpose of business is to _____ _______.
- We need to hold people ___________.
- The only thing that really matters is _______.
- If you cannot measure it, it _________ ________.
We have embedded these beliefs so deep in our collective psyche that I bet you do not even need to check your answers. However, just because these belief statements are common, does not mean they are legitimate. I encourage you to consider that holding these beliefs may be undermining your ability to effectively cultivate a motivating environment for those you lead.
In this blog we will explore the first eroding belief: “It’s not personal, it is just business.” We will tackle the other belief statements in upcoming posts.
Are You Kidding?
As a manager, you deliver information, feedback, or news to an individual that affects his or her work, livelihood, opportunities, status, income, mood, health, and/or well-being. How is this not personal?
On average, employees spend 75% of their waking hours connected to work—getting ready for work, getting to work, working, returning home from work, and decompressing. Oftentimes, employees spend more time interacting with coworkers than family members. Yet managers believe their actions are not personal and just business? Are you kidding?
Getting at the Root of the Belief
Trust me, what you say and do feels personal to the people you lead! Therein lies the issue. The new “F-word” in business, it seems, is Feelings. Is this because we hold a belief that expressing feelings does not belong in the workplace? If so, where did this belief come from?
I welcome your opinion. Here is mine: Feelings are discouraged in business because managers do not have the skill to effectively deal with them. True, some employees do not self-regulate well and may let their emotions get the best of them from time-to-time. But the fear of unruly emotions is disproportionate to the occurrence and severity of emotional outbreaks.
Research shows that even though people judge their work environment both emotionally and cognitively, emotions are the primary determinant of their sense of well-being As a manager, your actions strongly influence the outcome of an individual’s appraisal process that results in a sense of well-being—or not. If you do not notice, acknowledge, and deal with a person’s emotions, you may unwittingly be undermining that sense of well-being that is the vital link to a person’s intentions and behavior.
Try this for the next month: Instead of holding on to a traditional belief that potentially undermines people’s motivation, listen to your heart and acknowledge the crucial role that feelings play in work and life. Try changing that traditional belief to an Optimal Motivation belief: “If it is business, it must be personal.”
Watch how your leadership changes as your belief changes. Then notice the positive affect your changed belief has on those you lead.
About the author:
Susan Fowler is one of the principal authors—together with David Facer and Drea Zigarmi—of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ new Optimal Motivation process and workshop. Their posts appear on the first and third Monday of each month.
 Zigarmi, D., Nimon, K., Houson, D., Witt, D., & Diehl, J. (2011). A preliminary field test of an employee work passion model. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 22(2), 195-221. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hrdq.20076/abstract
Zigarmi, D., Houson, D., Witt, D., and Diehl, J. 2011. Employee Work Passion Connecting the Dots. Escondido, California. The Ken Blanchard Companies. http://www.kenblanchard.com/img/pub/Blanchard_Employee_Passion_Vol_3.pdf