never considered guilt to be of any positive value.
Business Report summarized a recent study by Professor Francis
Flynn which has linked guilt with strong work
performance. The study's findings state:
"People who are prone to guilt tend to work
harder and perform better than people who are not
guilt-prone, and are perceived to be more capable
as I hate to admit it, for me, this finding did ring
true. Having been a guilt-ridden
person for most of my early adult life, my devotion and
commitment to my former company was in many ways fueled
by guilt...needing always to do an outstanding job and
showing loyalty above all else, including
certainly did advance in my corporate career, but at
opinion, there are many costs of guilt; the greatest one
being that guilt-ridden people are often disconnected
from their own, authentic motivators.
In fact, over the course of my life I have seen
the damage of guilt, my own guilt.
leads to the inability to know intrinsically what drives
you. Guilt-induced action is not a
genuine or authentic action. It is an action that may
serve external forces but does not serve you.
brings to question the character of the person with
judgment rather than objectively focusing on the
behavior of that person.
believe that guilt creates a win/lose
guilt might drive short term results from people,as it
did for me, these results are not sustainable for
the long term. Ultimately, I
believe that guilt-prone people burn out and feel
resentment. Clearly, these are not
good results that leaders would want to inspire in
many of my leadership insights, this understanding about
guilt became clearer to me when I became a
parent. As a parent, I wanted to
raise a healthy, well-balanced, successful child with a
positive self-image that can be drawn on both today and
in the future. I knew that some of
the old styles of parenting that reinforced
guilt-induced actions were not in support of my
definition of long-term success. So,
I dropped many of these things from my
girl" or "good boy" but
used "good job" instead since it focuses on the
behavior, not the person.
proud of you" but
used "You must be so proud of yourself" instead since it
reinforces self-validation not external
disappoint me" but
used "you must feel disappointed?" instead since it
reinforces self-assessment not external
causes us to look out to the world to validate
ourselves; instead of having a sense of validation
research supports that internal motivators, not
guilt-induced motivators, generate long-term learning
performance. And so, I believe that this translates into
the work-place as well as at home.
leaders, or as parents, if you want to build followers
that are self-empowered, self-starters and
self-initiators, you need to equip the internal drivers
of those around you without guilt or fear.
Given the state of business today, we certainly
can see that the ways of the past won't serve us going
forward. We must eliminate guilt and fear as
you are a manager or leader that uses guilt or
fear as a way to motivate people, you are not
building a long-term learning culture with
self-empowered associates. Chances are if you are doing
this to others, guilt has been your driver and
motivator. And if you are
guilt-prone, how do you escape this grip of guilt for
pass it on. Watch your
communication with others. Guilt is about command and
control, an antiquated view of leadership.
more well-defined boundaries. Don't
take on the emotional baggage of others and solve
problems that aren't yours to solve.
Firm up your accountability and insist on
accountability from others. Guilt often blurs
the lines between people.
beyond the short
term. Developing others requires a
long-term view. Guilt focuses on immediate impact
moderation in yourself and others.
Extremes are often the result of guilt.
Guilt perpetuates work/life balance
a stronger internal barometer by looking inside of
yourself more often. Guilt keeps us focused too
much on others and not enough on ourselves.
to a guilt-free work-place where you
can bring your best because you, and others around
you, are internally driven and motivated to do
Interested in one-on-one
business coaching? Contact Laura for some customized