Is fear a motivator? Part 2: your answers

Well, it’s official – I am a hard-nosed mom. In Part 1 of my posts, I discussed my daughter’s struggle to raise her band grade and my dilemma about whether to tell her when the teacher unexpectedly revised her grade upward.

Overwhelmingly, readers thought I should have told my daughter she’d met the required standard and let her off the hook on her practice exercise. I heard from business owners, friends, relatives (who were soundly in my daughter’s camp though, admittedly, biased), even from a former teacher who based on her nineteen years of teaching suggested I tell my daughter but encourage her to keep trying on the exercise.

Here are a couple of the other comments I received:

Karin Khuhro of Strategy Essentials offered me this quote from Bill Cosby to support her view that fear isn’t motivating:

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.

Lisa Bickford at Highlight Printing said:

Tell your daughter for the same reasons you’d tell an employee – you are on the same team, you are not trying to trick her into better performance.

But I didn’t tell my daughter. I let her keep working because: 1) I thought she could achieve a higher score and suspected she would give up the minute she heard; and 2) She had left the performance evaluation to the last minute and I thought it might be a lesson on procrastination. But after reading the feedback I realized that I probably would not have reacted the same way with an employee. I would likely have told him or her because I would have assumed that fear would affect the quality of the output.

My daughter played on – but that’s not the end of the story. In Part 3, I’ll tell you how the story ended (I think you’ll be surprised) and tell you the conclusion that I drew from this experience.

Would you react differently with a family member vs. an employee? I’d love to keep getting your feedback. Send it to – if I use it I’ll feature your business.

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