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14 Sep 2015

Difference between Doing Good and Being Good at Work

This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series Placebo Management

The difference between doing good and being good affects how we lead. Too often though leaders only care that employees do good. They care about their behaviors not how they view them.

Why should we care if they are being good as long as they are doing good?

Difference between Doing Good and Being Good

At work, what is the difference between doing good and being good?

Tapping the difference between doing good and being good plays a key role in leaders motivating group members.

We should care about the difference between doing good and being good. Our intentions and motives matter. Our laws recognize this. They treat accidental crimes differently from premeditated ones.

Being good is about feeling we are good. Our intentions and motives affect this. Doing good is about the act. It is not about us.

Doing good can help us feel good. This is only true if we feel the act was of our own making. There are many times when this does not happen. Here are a few examples in which doing good is unlikely to help us feel we are being good:

  • We do it out of guilt or obligation.
  • It is the policy, rule or expectation.
  • We do not see the act as good; it is against our beliefs.
  • We are told or forced to do it.
  • It is a habit taken for granted.

What Does This Mean for Leadership?

This difference between doing good and being good comes into play as we lead. People do better when they feel good about themselves. When they feel they are good, they are more receptive. Change is easier. Building organizational cultures is easier. Teambuilding is easier.

That means this difference is about leaders helping people see they are being good. When they do good on their own, we point it out. We thank them. We compliment them.

When they say, “I’m just doing my job,” we do not let them take their work for granted. We reply, “No, you are wrong. You went beyond your job. You did very well, and I thank you for it.”

Even if they are just complying with a rule or doing what they were told, we show appreciation. They helped us. They did not do the minimum.

This difference between doing good and being good allows leaders to show that they have concern for motivates us. It is not only about what we do.

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