Carrot and Stick

Carrot and Stick

The most common and easiest way to manage people in your organization is by instilling fear in them to get the job done. But this is also the least effective way in the long run. The bubble does burst. Finally, people leave the organization and they gossip and dissuade other people from doing their jobs while they are with the organization. Management by fear does not work. You may get the job done in the short run. But at what cost?

Then the other way to manage people is through carrots. Give them an increment or a promotion. One more short term way that brings harm in the long run. I am not saying that they should not be getting increments and promotions. I am saying that it is one thing to give a raise and it another thing to make their jobs about the raise. The increment should be the result of a job well done but not the purpose of doing the job well. Then we wonder why people are leaving our hospital for a slightly better salary elsewhere! Well we made their work life about salaries in the first place. The so called more evolved management professionals call this carrot phenomenon – MOTIVATION. But motivation does not seem to work in the long run as we make our people’s life about money and promotion. As soon as someone else offers them a slightly higher package, they are ready to pack up and go. And we blame them for it.

Now the final part. What can you do? How do you make people work at their peak perormance level without shouting at them and without enticing them with a carrot?

To these questions most leaders tell me- ‘That is the only way they understand here.’ ‘Nothing else works in this organization/culture.’

I tell them- ‘Try INSPIRATION.’ Talk to them from your heart. Share your dreams and vision with them. Solicit partnership from them for attaining your vision. Appreciate every little effort made by them with the core of your heart. Treat them as winners [and they will become winners]. Trust your people. Lead by example.
Give room for them to fail. Let them use their creativity. Nurture, guide and support them. Most important- Listen to them.

Idealistic is what it sounds. But this is what works. Gandhi did not threaten people with consequencies if they did not join the freedom struggle. Nor did he offer money or any other carrot to solicit support. He just inspired people by sharing his vision with them. Vinoba Bhave got 4 crore acres of land donated to poor landless farmers just by inspiring landlords to do it. Babur laid the foundation of the great Moghul empire by inspiring his 12000 men to defeat an army of 125,000 soldiers.

There are people in our industry who are making a difference. Many sung and unsung heroes have contributed to the healthcare industry in India. Amongst them, a few people that I have come across and worked closely with include-

Dr. Sanjiv Malik, the Regional Director of Max Hospitals, for example follows a open door policy for staff and customers alike. He is one of the most accessible leaders I have come across in recent times. The very reason for his popularity across the 1500 odd staff that Max Hospitals employ. Add to this the fact that his acumen for business is acknowledged even by the competitors.

Dr GB, Chairman of KG hospital, Coimbatore, at the age of 65 is on the shop floor answering calls or receieving patients in the emergency department. It doesn’t matter if it is 6 in the morning or 11 in the night. The Padmashree awardee is omnipresent in his hospital. His pictures are used as screensavers by his staff on their computers.

Then Dr N C Borah CMD of GNRC hospitals in Guwahati, starts his day at 4 AM. He knows almost everyone in his 1200 odd staff. He knows their family background, native village details, etc. He walksthe poorest of his patients to the door and opens it for them. A highly respected, dynamic yet modest leader.

Here is the final word- The ability to influence and inspire people by your listening, words and actions is the most powerful management tool you can ever have.

Remember- leaders don’t talk, they listen; and leaders don’t speak, they inspire.

Vivek Shukla
Healthcare Marketing Consultant

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