What are the Six Human Needs and how do they relate to motivation?

We hear a lot these days about motivation, it seems to be the buzzword of the decade, and quite rightly so, highly motivated staff lead to engaged employees lead to a happier working environment lead to higher productivity!

However, the ‘sixty thousand dollar’ question always is ‘What actually motivates someone?’ There are many motivation theories out there but the one I want to highlight in this post is related to our basic needs as humans and what happens when they aren’t met.

In the 1950’s Maslow articulated the Hierarchy of Needs, outlining how our needs change as we evolve as a society and as an individual. A model related to this but with a somewhat different perspective is the Six Human Needs model popularized by Anthony Robbins.

Powerstart your day!

For many years now we have heard about the importance of a filling, nutritional breakfast (I still manage to be horrified when some Spaniards here tell me they only have a cup of coffee for breakfast).

However, as the pace of life and demands on us continue to increase, we need more than just a boost via our alimentation. In previous posts I’ve often made reference to the importance of the balance between mind, body and spirit for a happy and satisfying life. And this is particularly important at certain moments, one of those moments being the start of the day.

The 5 essentials for leading a team

Most of us are required to exercise a leadership function at some time in our lives even though this may be in adhoc and informal situations.

However, regardless of whether you officially lead a team at work or only find yourself in leadership situations from time to time, there are certain elements that have to be present for you to lead a team effectively.

Be positive: one of the most important characteristics that a leader must possess is positivity. As a leader you must have a fundamental belief that you can change and improve things. Being positive means you see opportunities rather than problems, that you focus on what can be done to resolve an issue rather than dwelling on what can’t be done. The way you speak is also important, nobody will feel inspired by a leader who uses negative language to make judgements or expresses doubt before examining possible solutions.

“Stars don’t work for idiots.”

I love this statement, apparently made by HR guru, John Sullivan of San Francisco State University. It comes from a post about the resignation of Steve Jobs in The Harvard Business Review http://blogs.hbr.org/taylor/2011/08/why_steve_jobs_matters_to_you.html and how it encourages us to think about the legacy we ourselves will lead behind.

“Stars don’t work for idiots” a stark sentence yet full of meaning got me thinking about leadership and how many “idiots” there are, unfortunately, currently directing companies.

How many people are in positions of leadership simply because they excelled at a technical skill or because they happened to know someone who provided the famous “enchufe”? It really alarms me when I speak to reputable business people here in Spain who time after time lament that the overall standard of top directors leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to leadership and people management skills.

The new depths of motivation

“When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does.

Our current business operating system – which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators – doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science shows the way. This new approach has three essential elements:

  1. AUTONOMY – the desire to direct our own lives
  2. MASTERY the urge to get better and better at something that matters
  3. PURPOSE –  the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves”

That’s a summary from a great book I’ve just read about motivation called Drive by Daniel H. Pink. http://www.danpink.com/drive and it really struck a chord with me.