A website based on Radhanath Swami's Leadership Lessons

The Rewarding tools- money or appreciation?

Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I may not forget you.” – William Arthur

While studying Organizational Behaviour during the first semester of our M.B.A class, I was impressed by Frederick Herzberg’s motivational theory; I particularly noted his conclusion that money is not as much a motivator as achievement and appreciation. He had observed in his research that ‘respect for me as a person’ is the top motivating factor at any stage of life. Research studies over decades have repeatedly shown that money is usually fourth or fifth when it comes to motivating employees. The top motivators have been challenging work, appreciation, and a feeling of sense of worth and accomplishment.

 

 

Limitations of financial incentives

Money - As Rewarding toolYet ironically enough most managers repeatedly list money as number one factor that they believe motivates people. A good pay packet certainly is needed, for ‘if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys’.  Good money may help an employee report to work but it won’t motivate him to go beyond the ordinary into the extraordinary realm of performance. After all ‘you can pay people to perform but you can’t pay them to excel’.

A spiritual leader (a leader guided by spiritual principles) is aware that resorting to financial incentives is like bribing the team members; it makes people feel they are being manipulated and increases their consciousness of ‘what’s in it for me’; the whole purpose of the leader to motivate is then defeated. Canadian management guru, Jim Clemmer noted, “Money doesn’t provide deeper meaning and inspiration for a bigger cause and purpose.”

‘Intrinsic’ and ‘Extrinsic’ motivators

A close friend I knew in college embraced spiritual principles as his guiding light. The meditation practices and study of scriptures helped him discover internal peace and happiness. Slowly he volunteered to offer services to our community in Mumbai, and then took up a job with our projects. The salary now was lesser than what his previous employer paid but he confessed the ‘intrinsic’ rewards here were higher, and the cause was worthy, and fulfilling.

There are ‘intrinsic’ and ‘extrinsic’ motivators at work. The former is the inner drive of the individual and refers to the interest and enjoyment he experiences by the act itself.  The latter refers to motivation coming from outside of the person like money, grades or other fringe benefits. A spiritual leader isn’t attracted by a routine ‘job’; rather his work is congruent with his sacred inner values and the timeless principles revealed by the wisdom of holy books and saints.

While a spiritual leader personally focuses on ‘intrinsic’ rewards at his work place and home, he’s careful to use ‘extrinsic’ motivators with his team members; he judiciously uses recognition and praise, but with the intention of making his team members feel good about themselves. As people bathe in the warmth of appreciation and a feeling of sense of self worth, they feel inspired to also go deeper in life and seek ‘intrinsic’ rewards for their pursuits.

Motivated by spiritual principles

As a leader if your cause is weak and purely material, you can only offer money to get people to cooperate. Since the team members find the work unfulfilling, they’d prefer some other work, and therefore demand more money to continue working for your ‘meaningless’ purpose. However if a leader’s purpose is deep and coupled with motivating with love and appreciation, we get team members to give in more than hundred percent.

In Mumbai, the community members have been performing an annual drama festival since 1994. Over three hundred members come together in four to five groups and practice a drama on some devotional or scriptural theme. The practice lasts over three months and on Appreciationtwo fixed days, in a packed auditorium, the groups perform for the pleasure of all the other community members and guests. Although the performance blends devotion with professionalism-high tech visual effects and well researched props add up to the show- it’s a one off performance; the show is neither repeated nor are the members remunerated monetarily. That’s quite a level of detachment by the artists considering the huge effort, time and money invested in the shows; all those involved in the dramas- from the director to the spot boys- are professionals working outside to make a living. Yet they leave no stone unturned to dish out a breathtaking performance each year, most often bettering their own previous year’s rendition. The driving force behind these shows is the camaraderie spirit amongst the members; the community comes together as one big family. Later the spirit of love and sacrifice imbibed in the dramas translates into cooperation on the various social initiatives of the community.

Rewarding with appreciation

However the best part of the drama festival comes later one evening when all the actors and workers of the four shows get together for a celebration. During this get together Radhanath Swami personally hears the realizations and experiences of many of the participants; he then appreciates the team spirit and inspires them to be united. One striking feature that I noticed in all these post drama meetings is that the appreciation showered is not just for the big performances; even the small and apparently insignificant incidents are highlighted. For instance in one such meeting, I heard Radhanath Swami appreciate how some women who had worked hard for their show on the first evening could have relaxed and enjoyed the performance of the other groups the next evening. However they preferred to be on the back stage the next day and help the other groups get their show in order. They sacrificed their enjoyment so that the other groups could perform well.

William James, the leading American psychologist of the nineteenth century observed that the deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. By genuinely appreciating and recognizing incidents such as these, all the members get fired up for the next challenging project or services to the community.

Radhanath Swami has shown by his example that when you recognize sincerity and reward the spirit of service, the members are more inspired. He often quotes Mother Teresa who said, “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread” However it needs to be clarified that the spiritual method of encouragement is not to get people to do something else; the attempt is to create a culture of respect and human dignity. A spiritual leader also emphasizes on a devotional and prayerful mood during all services and projects, including dramas. The culture of prayer and selfless service offers deep inner peace and satisfaction, and thus these intrinsic rewards motivate the members to stretch longer and work harder. This approach is also more sustainable. Therefore even though Radhanath Swami’s appreciation of members is lavish, it’s honest and more importantly it’s to encourage a person to eventually derive satisfaction through intrinsic motivators.

Recognizing sincerity

If the leader rewards only the results, the team players may be inspired to follow the maxim, ‘ends justify the means’. However when the sincere efforts are also recognized, the message sent by the leader is ‘we value you and your efforts because you are sincere.’

In The Simple Truths of Appreciation Barbara Glanz reveals a simple, yet most often ignored universal truth; we all have a need of ‘appreciation’ and if we offer personal and sincere appreciation to others from our hearts, we will receive more than we give; maybe not material benefits- which defeats the purpose of appreciation- but the joy and contentment is far richer for the person showering kind words than the one receiving it. “Appreciation is a wonderful thing” declared the French philosopher Voltaire, “It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

In another post drama meeting, Radhanath Swami appreciated an actor who had caused great laughs during the show. The audience roared in laughter not at the histrionics but at a clumsy mistake during a critical scene. The actor’s royal robes got stuck on a chariot wheel and as he spoke his punch lines, he was desperately pulling his lower cloth and attempting to set it right. Some members including the actor felt that was an embarrassing moment and they wished to forget the fiasco. However during the meeting Radhanath Swami elaborated how the actor is sincere and the cloth getting stuck was an arrangement of the Lord to make the drama sweeter and simpler. This time again everybody laughed but now it was out of love, in appreciation of the simplicity of the actor who works as a senior president in a large multinational company. Rather than an embarrassment, the incident now embellished his personality; besides he was happy and inspired.

Having witnessed many times Radhanath Swami’s stroke of genius in encouraging people at all situations, I remembered Ms Dona, my project leader in school who often shared her realization that encouraged people achieve the best; paid people achieve the second best; dominated people achieve the least and neglected people nothing.

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About the Author

About the Author: A senior monk and a leader at the Radhagopinath Ashram, a monastery in Mumbai guided by Radhanath Swami, Vrajabihari Das is a board member of the CSV, a Council that provides spiritual vision to the Ashram. Also a prolific writer, he is a regular contributor to Back To Godhead, an international magazine on spirituality. And on the web, he blogs on krishnayoga.info and radhanath-swami.net Venugopal topped Mumbai University in International Finance during his Masters. He then did his MBA. Though a flourishing career awaited him, he chose to become a monk, so as to dedicate his life for the welfare of society. And sure enough, Venugopal today serves as a lifestyle counselor for hundreds in India. His spiritual wisdom and genuine compassion flows freely, irrespective of whether he is counseling, discoursing or writing. .

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There Are 39 Brilliant Comments

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  1. surekha says:

    Thank you for sharing us the importance of appreciation. And appreciating their work will encourage them to do more work unitedly.

  2. sajeev says:

    the point on recognizing also the efforts and not just the results is very much needed in today’s world. in today’s fast paced world, everyone talks about just results and noone appreciates the efforts behind the success or a failure. and that for many, deters their next endeavor. thank u vraj bihari prabhu for such an enlightening article.

  3. rahul ranjan mishra says:

    Appreciation is the antidote of envy. Thank you for teaching us appreciating appreciation by this nice article!!!!!!!!

  4. Y.Raja Shekar says:

    HH Radhanath Swami advises that the appreciation to be done at the right time and should not be delayed to have maximum impact.

  5. Dr Raju K Mewada says:

    Encourage me, and I may not forget you. Perfectly wisdom to encourage someone. But in today’s sinario everybody wants to motivate others without showing their true love. So appreaciation from our heart shows our love and feelings for others and that act as best medicine to work better for proper cause. H H Radhanath Swami Maharaj teach this priciple through his own practice that shows his genuine love for all.

  6. Jagannath Dham Das says:

    Radhanath Swami Maharaj has been so kind & encouraging to everyone He interacts. This is just of the great qualities of such a True leader like Radhanath Swami !
    Thank you prabhu for this wonderful article.

  7. bipin says:

    All Glories To H.H Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

    All such lessons of leadership are worth emulating every day of our life, it will not only makes us leader for life but a more mature and wise human being.

    Hare Krishna.

  8. deepak bagla says:

    Thank you prabhuji for sharing such nice article. Genuine appreciation for others is a mantra which can bring magic to one’e life

  9. vsk says:

    an intense article depicting the different phases of life

  10. BSDd says:

    incentives in different forms for material progress, which can been nicely dovetailed for spiritual progress

  11. anand says:

    Thanks for the wonderful article.

    Thank you for teaching us that appreciation can go a long way in encouraging and motivating people

  12. sunny says:

    thank you for another good article . Often times we dont appreciate people who are close to us and “assume”…”they know – I appreciate”…however from the example of great souls we see never miss a chance to genuinely appreciate…

  13. Milind M Churi says:

    Very fantastic article.Author is successful in explaining very strongly everything about sincere and honest appreciation of others in this article.Such honest and sincere and honest appreciation is soothing to mind and it motivates team members to excel further.
    The examples of drama and scarifying enjoyment for others are really nice one.
    And Radhanath Swami always encouraged and motivated his community members for selfless service with honest and sincere appreciation.
    One of the nice quote is refereed herein by author is highly encouraging. “Appreciation is a wonderful thing” declared the French philosopher Voltaire, “It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” This is very deep understanding of the said subject matter.I am very much grateful to Venugopal Acharya for this article which has given me very nice understandings of the subject matter,and I am sure that it will help me in my day to day life.

  14. Milind M Churi says:

    Very fantastic article.Author is successful in explaining very strongly everything about sincere and honest appreciation of others in this article.Such honest and sincere appreciation is soothing to mind and it motivates team members to excel further.
    The examples of drama and scarifying enjoyment for others are really nice one.
    And Radhanath Swami always encouraged and motivated his community members for selfless service with honest and sincere appreciation.
    One of the nice quote is refereed herein by author is highly encouraging. “Appreciation is a wonderful thing” declared the French philosopher Voltaire, “It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” This is very deep understanding of the said subject matter.I am very much grateful to Venugopal Acharya for this article which has given me very nice understandings of the subject matter,and I am sure that it will help me in my day to day life.

  15. anand says:

    very nice…many times I have not encouraged my wife or my friends…and I thought it was not necessary but I have realized that is very important to be appreciative and thankful thus encouraging them. This article is a good reflection on that point. thanks for sharing.

  16. vidyask says:

    The culture of prayer and selfless service offers deep inner peace and satisfaction – so true ! the only sustenance for spiritual progress

  17. Pankaj says:

    Thank you…Reading your article, I have got a strong faith in APPRECIATING others…!

  18. bipin says:

    True lessons of leadership are one to be followed as instructions for the heart and mind and not just forgotten after a good read. If every leader understands the essence of leadership, it will benefit not just the society but give us a history worth remembering and a future worth looking forward to.

  19. surekha says:

    Thank you for sharing this and explaining us money cannot make people work but we can make people work by appreciation.

    • Josh says:

      Dr NiketaYes if we fegrot our ego..if we fegrot our expectations and just accept gracefully what lord provides for us then we will remain happy in all situations of life This advice of Radhanath Swami is just apt for us to remain happy at all times. Tx.

  20. Abhinav Mutreja says:

    Very Inspiring Point = “When sincere efforts are also recognized, the message sent by the leader is ‘we value you and your efforts because you are sincere”

  21. Sumit Sharma says:

    If we see every success in the material world is result oriented but in spiritual world it’s effort oriented.

  22. nandkishor das says:

    Lifestyle should be such that even a mistake is made enjoyable- This time again everybody laughed but now it was out of love, in appreciation of the simplicity of the actor who works as a senior president in a large multinational company.

  23. Gopal Lila Das says:

    Fantastic Article depicting Importance of Appreciation.This made me realize that how much i am lacking to appreciate my near and dear ones….. Thank u v much Prabhu for enlightning on this topic.Keep your blessings and prayers so that i can apply the article in my life.

  24. Ankit Patel says:

    Great Article, This is just one drop of the ocean of qualities of Radhanath Swami Maharaj.

    I Recommend all of You to Read his Autobiography “The Journey Home”- Very Very Enlightening.

    Hare Krsna.

  25. Anshu Jaiman says:

    Hare Krishna Maharaj…Maharaj ki jai hooo…!!!.Really Maharaj its being sensational
    to see you coming out as world’s best Humanitarian,Spiritualist,Socialist and Loving father.
    My heart fills with joy and tears filled with tears.What a sacrifice you have dne for all humanity.
    What an example you have set in front of the whole world.Maharaj ki jai hooo…!!! jai hoo jai hoo…
    I want to continue serving you life after life after life.I pray to Sri Sri RadhaGopinath that i may never
    become ungreatfull to you and to your diciples and followers.
    Your servant
    anshu jaiman

  26. Anshu Jaiman says:

    Hare Krishna Maharaj…Maharaj ki jai hooo…!!!.Really Maharaj its being sensational
    to see you coming out as world’s best Humanitarian,Spiritualist,Socialist and Loving father..You are fulling life in people.jai jai…
    My heart fills with joy and tears filled with tears.What a sacrifice you have dne for all humanity.
    What an example you have set in front of the whole world.Maharaj ki jai hooo…!!! jai hoo jai hoo…
    I want to continue serving you life after life after life.I pray to Sri Sri RadhaGopinath that i may never
    become ungreatfull to you and to your diciples and followers.
    Your servant
    anshu jaiman

  27. sandeep shetty says:

    Thanks for such a wonderful article. “Appreciation is a wonderful thing” declared the French philosopher Voltaire, “It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”After reading this point i remembered HH Radhanath maharajs point that “If we simply become happy and not envious by seeing others advancing in spiritual life we also make spiritual advancement.

  28. sundar ananda das says:

    encouraged people achieve the best: this is a wonderful quote, and you’ve shown practically how Radhanath Swami exemplifies this in motivating others. thanks!

  29. Braj says:

    This article truly make me realize, “Money may buy something but money can’t buy everything!”

  30. shoba says:

    Very nicely written! I could feel the author has imbibed this quality of appreciation from the teachings of HH Radhanath Swami and wrote this article with realization, not just with some quotes from different personalities. Thank you!

  31. Chandrashekar says:

    Nice article.. need to cultivate the knack of appreciating the people for their sincere performance and efforts.. Thanks for this article based on HH Radhanath swami’s live examples

  32. aniket says:

    There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread

  33. Anshu Jaiman says:

    Hare Krishna, Maharaj ki jai hoo..All Glories to Maharaj…
    Thanks for such wonderful article. Thanks for enlightening this useless soul. Really, very nice article. Maharaj knows in and out how to make his disciples a perfect vaishanava. Nice to learn this. Maharaj is the real spiritualist, humanitarian, social worker and Real well wisher. I am his eternal servant. A spiritual Master is like an expert physician knowing exactly how to cure a particular disease. Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful story of how we should follow the instruction of our spiritual master with at most care. I realise how important is it to stay in the association of Saintly people, it not only serves to nourish your spiritual life but it shakes off all the negativity from your life and keeps the growth od spiritual life ticking.
    Thank you!!!
    Ys-anshu jaiman

  34. Yogesh Dhuri says:

    I couldnt agree more with this article. I had one such experience when we had gone on a Yatra to Vrindavan Dham. It was ekadasi (fasting from grains) and we were expecting a simple prasadam. However to our sweet surprise we had a very opulent prasadam with sweets and puris et all. We were so happy to see such wonderful prasadam that we didnt stop to think how on earth were we having puris on ekadasi(since they are made from grains). It was only when the senior devotee who had taken us appreciated a devotee’s mother for tirelessly cooking for more than 4 hours in kitchen in the hot august season, that we realised her glories. She was quite touched by the sensitivity the devotee had shown to her efforts and couldnt control herself.

    It was at that moment i realised what a beautiful culture of ‘appreciating others’ has been inspiring many devotees. I will always be grateful to HH Radhanath Swami maharaj for always stressing the values of gratitude and appreciation for others.

    I feel blessed to have devotee friends who have such culture and mature understanding.

  35. Arvind says:

    one can really awake his qualities by Swamijies association.

  36. Arvind says:

    Really we can be lead very peaceful life.Thank you very much Maharaj.

  37. pranjal dixit says:

    This brings peace to us and everyone who comes in contact with us.

  38. Neeraj says:

    What a unique example of Drama festival is given here by the author, I have been visiting the drama festival since last 3 years and I have witnessed their mind blowing performances and it made me realize that money made motivations are nothing as compared to spiritual motivations imparted by Leaders like Radhanath Swami.

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