Is It fair for bosses to threaten your job to get better results?
I think, first of all you need to talk to your colleagues to find out if all of them (or the majority of them) were threatened to be fired. But if it turns out you are the only one with such a problem, then do not blame your boss, but try to analyze the quality of your duties to be performed. But if the boss threatens to everyone in your company, then go kick his ass by all the staff and let him know that if he keeps acting like this all the employees will resign by themselves at once.
I have seen this at many corporations. It is a form of behavior control. It's also a technique in business management books. The idea behind it is fear motivation. They believe if the employee fears the loss of their job, they will quickly obey orders and raise their performance. They believe it is more powerful and cheaper than reward/money motivation. If the employee does not have a lot of money saved, or if they don't see other companies that they can go work for, then they feel trapped. In reality there are always better jobs. Sometimes the managers try to brainwash the employees into thinking that there are no jobs elsewhere. That's how foolish it gets. But each company has their own rules and motivation methods. It's not just about the work, it's about mind control and belittlement. The management is ego driven because they need outer confirmation for their self worth. It gives them a false sense of power or superiority. Some places even refer to them as "your superiors". What a joke!
There are basically two ways to motivate people to get them do what you want them to.
1. You can offer them positive incentives (bonus, raise, promotion, a treat)
2. You can incite fear or punishment (placed on a performance plan or fired)
Most bosses would rather be handing out bonus checks or giving away prizes than to be coming down on people because (their boss) is coming down on them.
Anyone who responds to "negative reinforcement" by (improving) has now told their boss: "This is how you get me to work hard". From then on every time the come up short in production they can expect to have their boss riding them.
It's not so much whether it's fair or not. An employer is interested in getting results. All employment is an "at will" contract. Neither party is stuck with the other.
Fear as a management technique? It may motivate some employees in the short term, but in the long term, it's bad for morale. For someone like me, those kind of tactics wouldn't work. I walked out on the last boss who tried to imply if I didn't do things her way, my job might be at risk, and started my own company the following day.
As an employee, it is definitely threatening to know that you'll loose your job but only if it comes once or twice. If the boss is habitual of threatening his/her employees with such thing, then it's really silly.
In long term, the people working under him would develop a feeling that it is their boss's nature to threaten them every now and then.
So it's fair for an employer to do it if he/her is using it as a motivational tool and unfair if he thinks that this would keep his employees on toes every time.
Yes, it is in certain cases. There are people who really believe in working hard enough just to keep their jobs. These employees will do the minimum possible & no more. They will often stretch tasks which can be easily completed within three hours for one day. Others will socialize with others in order to avoid working at their full capacity.
Then there are employees who will do absolutely nothing or even look like they are working when they are not. These employees believe in bilking the system. They contend that they are doing to the company/corporation what the company/corporation is DOING to them. They further argue that only clueless employees work a full 8 hour day; they then state that bosses & other superiors slack off, they should do the same.
Supervisors, managers, & executives oftentimes have to threaten lackadaisical, insubordinate, unmotivated, & other contentious employees with dire consequences if the former elect not to do their jobs properly. Many times, such employees will only work proficiently when their jobs are on the line. It is harsh but it is a normal fact of life in the corporate world.
I think bosses who threaten his/her employees to get better results are people who are themselves frustrated and clueless about getting a job done by others... They think its an easy way out.
But the fact is positive motivation is the best and proves you as a good leader.
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