In our last post, we talked about the first three waypoints of the mindful leadership map: Safety, Connection, and Dignity as basic human needs that must be met. This week we discuss the latter three.
Purpose, Mastery, and Autonomy are Human Performance Drivers. They are important to the human psyche like the first three, but higher up on the hierarchy of needs, and can only be achieved after the first three needs are met.
More importantly, these three drivers are amazing motivators. Threatening safety or demeaning someone is not an effective motivator, but aligning purpose, creating opportunities for mastery, and giving autonomy is. These drivers are also more rewarding to the individual, and they improve people’s well-being instead of harming it.
Purpose is the ‘why’ behind our actions and is a key to long-term intrinsic motivation. While a purpose can be grandiose, it's not always necessary. Simply understanding how one’s work contributes to the larger project is often enough. However, connecting purpose to the company’s mission and further to personal values is how purpose is maintained in the long run.
In order to give purpose as a leader, make sure the purpose behind a delegated task is clear. This might entail explaining your reasoning, or simply pointing out the task’s contribution to the larger picture. In addition, you should take time at regular intervals to bring up and reinforce the values and goals of the company - especially as they relate to the aspirations of your team members.
Mastery is a driving force for our actions. It’s why the process of learning an instrument, reading, and working out are so satisfying. While most work improves our skills, the work isn’t satisfying unless we see our progress.
Mastery is closely related to the flow state. The three ingredients to flow are 1) clear goals and tasks, 2) work that is challenging, but not overly difficult, and 3) immediate feedback. While not all tasks can provide the euphoria of a flow state, we can still provide these ingredients for most tasks.
As a leader, assign tasks with clearly defined goals and make sure you give feedback about whether those goals were met. In addition, make sure you regularly meet with team members to give clear feedback that provides direction and goals for future growth. Importantly, go back to those goals to see progress over time.
Autonomy is the last, and, in many ways, the most difficult waypoint to reach. It often requires deep trust in intentions and competence. However, autonomy has the ability to unleash the highest levels of human performance. We like to be self-direct, able to make choices of our own, and direct our life. Without autonomy, we easily become stressed and unmotivated.
Autonomy is sometimes difficult to give as a leader because it requires letting go of our own control. It often requires a leap of faith to trust a team member. Despite the difficulty, autonomy is essential. if you treat someone like they need to be shepherded everywhere, they will act like it. If you treat someone like they can make their own decisions, they will step up to the challenge.
As a leader, make sure you step back and assess your actions. Are you dictating action, or asking questions? Are you telling people why, what, or how to do their jobs?
For a deeper understanding of how drivers create motivation and well-being, begin your journey of Mindful Leadership with our Blindspot Mapping program. This introductory month-long program is available now and just $79 for a limited time. Learn more and schedule your free consultation call by signing up today.