Angry Motivation

The Worst Way to Motivate

There’s a fine line between accountability and abuse. Here’s where to find it.

By Ashley Keating

I like when my fitness instructor shouts “Go harder! Go faster!” But that doesn’t mean supervisors should start doing it.

This approach to motivation can easily backfire and make employees sloppy, according to a new study in the Journal of Applied Psychology. This is particularly true when an employee is unsure about their standing.

Sloppy work is obviously not ideal in any corporate setting, but can be downright dangerous in manufacturing environments. 

The good news: It’s not difficult for leaders to spot abusive supervision and correct it with supplemental training. In addition, performance feedback to all employees will help your team know where they stand—and how to reach the next level. 

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Yang, Liu-Qin, et al. “Abusive Supervision, Thwarted Belongingness, and Workplace Safety: A Group Engagement Perspective.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 2019, doi:10.1037/apl0000436