Selling your soul to the devil

May 19, 2009 at 22:16 Leave a comment

“It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.” Niccolo Machiavelli

machiavelliBack in 2002/3, I was the top performer for a multinational medical devices company. However, I could never understand why my managers would try to manage me and my colleagues by using fear tactics. The biggest frustration for the managers was that those tactics didn’t work. So they tried applying even more draconian fear tactics to see if they worked.

Yes, I did work much smarter but not harder and I was also constantly insecure about losing my job. Working for such an organisation left my mind and body in a state of dis-ease. I’d taken several days off sick to recover from the emotional battering that was being given out.

Now you can imagine my relief when started to work in my own business in the middle of 2003. The immediate consequence of managing my own business was that I never needed to take time off for ill health. It was then that I understood that by running my own business I was more likely to have work practices with integrity and aligned to my core values.

Having worked with and within a number of large organisations, I’ve come to a couple of conclusions that may explain the behaviour of leadership and management. Firstly, through parental, peer group and cultural conditioning, managers understand the concept of ‘carrot-and-stick’ motivation. The idea is that people are either motivated away from ‘pain’ or motivated towards ‘pleasure’. However, as intelligent as our managers are, their actions are skewed much more towards using the ‘stick’ or fear approach. This is nothing new. Many religions have been using fear as a method of control for thousands of years.

Using ‘fear’ to motivate people is a short-sighted approach and usually proves expensive in the end. Managers have also tried the ‘carrot’ approach, too. So they may offer their high-performing staff benefits, bonuses, commissions and incentives in order to reward them. This is a much better and longer lasting approach and is much more ethical than the fear-based approach. Unfortunately, when in doubt, managers do default back to the use of fear. The results are clear for all to see. Nearly 80 million working days are lost every year due to sickness.

Given this kind of working atmosphere, is it a surprise that politicking is rife in offices across industries? The use of unethical practice and low conscious behaviour thrive in these offices where managers and workers pay lip-service to the team effort. It is more about boosting the ego and gamesmanship of who can have one up on the other. In such an environment, managers believe they have little choice but only to create teams that are composed of people who are clones of one another. Free-thinking and creativity is forbidden. Should you dare to raise your head above the parapet because you had the audacity to think outside the box, then expect to be shot down.

If you do wish to survive in the dog-eat-dog world of corporatocracy, then you may wish to read Machaivelli’s Prince,  a book about ruthless tactics on gaining absolute power and its abandonment of conventional morality. But if you wish to retain your sense of authentic Self, it may be wise to avoid getting caught up with such ambitions.

When companies are created, most start off small with good intention and a desire to make the world a better place. However, beyond a certain size, they seem to lose their raison d’être. Take a look at the fallout from companies in the energy, financial, food, pharmaceutical and many other sectors. Shockingly, some of the companies in these sectors are so powerful their influence is much greater than many nation states.

So we ask ourselves how we can improve our condition and that of the planet if one is stuck with an employer that uses low conscious motivation and unethical practice. There are many things you can do. The most important thing is to keep your own personal consciousness raised by not getting embroiled in these sorts of behaviours and attitudes.

A powerful way to ensure you retain some degree of spiritual connection to humanity is to invest 2-6 hours a week doing voluntary work with a local community project. That way, you get to keep your soul!

Ultimately, the most powerful way to retain and raise your consciousness and your integrity is to steer clear of low conscious organisations. Refuse to participate in their activities. Instead, find yourself an employer who is ethical and puts her customers first – that includes you, the internal customer.

Harun Rabbani

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Entry filed under: Behaviour, Economics, Future of Humanity, Leadership, Personal Evolvement.

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