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The Power of Moderation

Many companies prefer employees with deep motivation, strong commitment, unquestioned loyalty and widely shared values. But the author says that employing such highly involved people can have serious drawbacks for the company. For starters, deeply motivated people can be a challenge for management because they tend to interpret organizational purposes in their own way, sometimes substituting their own purposes for the company objectives without even realizing it. Deeply motivated individuals are also likely to display strong resentment when the organization fails to fulfill the needs or desires they are so imbued with. Not surprisingly, deeply motivated people are not easy to get along with: They don't comply with rules or policies that they don't fully respect; they believe they should have a say in almost everything; and they tend to behave like the owners they are not (but wish they were). Similarly, people who are strongly committed are likely to develop excessive confidence in the face of difficulties. They can be blind to warning signs, which can lead to excessive delays in corrective actions. Strongly committed people are also prone to believing that the end justifies the means, which can lead to unethical behavior. Given such drawbacks, the author contends that companies might be better off with employees who have a moderate -- instead of excessive -- level of motivation, commitment and loyalty.

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