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Inspiring Leadership - Motiviating Others by Building Relationships

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Driven to Lead: What Makes People Tick

Leadership is about relationships with others. You cannot lead without understanding the innate drives that are essential to human development and survival.

Decades of research have given us numerous theories about drive and motivation, to include:

·  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization)

·  Intrinsic and extrinsic motivators (inner satisfaction and desires, external rewards and payoffs)

· The well-documented drives to achieve autonomy, mastery and purpose in our personal and professional lives.

·  Economist Milton Friedman’s agency theory, which argues that rational self-interest motivates all human behavior — and that businesses’ sole purpose is to maximize shareholder returns. (Over time, behavioral economists have proved there’s much more to human behavior than rational self-interest.)

Scientists have fragmented the search for the most fundamental drives that make humans tick. Every discipline has proposed a different theory that contains some truths, as viewed through the discrete lenses of:

·  Cultural anthropology

·  Sociology

·  Psychology

·  Genetics

·  Evolutionary biology

·  Economics

·  Neurology

Perhaps the most noteworthy deduction about human behavior can be attributed to Charles Darwin’s scientific studies, published more than 150 years ago. In The Descent of Man (1871), the British naturalist observed that the most important distinction between humans and the lower species is our innate moral sense: our conscience.

The Four-Drive Theory

Humans have evolved to survive differently from other animals. We have endured as a species because we learned to work in groups and rely on problem-solving skills, rather than brute force, inborn physical capacities and instincts.

The late Harvard Business School Professor Paul R. Lawrence suggested that Darwin’s insights about human drives have largely been ignored. He proposed a theory of human behavior based on “renewed Darwinism” and four key drives:

1.  To acquire what we need for survival, conception and our offspring’s survival. This drive far surpasses our drives to acquire food, water, warmth and a mate. We are driven to attain things that interest us, give us a sense of identity and meet our loved ones’ needs.

2.  To defend ourselves and our offspring from threats. We’ll protect our family and groups to which we belong, our ideas and beliefs, our sense of pride and hope, and our self-image.

3.  To bond and form long-term, mutually caring and trusting relationships with others.

4.  To comprehend, to learn, create, innovate, and make sense of the world and our place in it.

Lawrence and Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria applied these drives to the business world in Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices (Jossey-Bass, 2002). Leadership, they noted, must effectively balance these four basic human drives. While other species survive by feeding, mating, fighting and fleeing, humans survive by feeding, mating, fighting, fleeing, befriending andfiguring out.

We achieve an optimal state of leadership when we cultivate and consciously manage all four drives. It’s not enough to be mindful of one or two of them. As Lawrence and Nohria wrote:

“We would predict that those who have found ways to satisfy all four drives (at least over time) will feel more fulfilled than those who have focused on some to the exclusion of others.”

Conflicting Impulses

We are hardwired to feel conflicting emotions. As leaders, we must continually assess our options and arrive at acceptable decisions.

Animals don’t have this problem. After acquiring food, shelter, a mate and ways to defend themselves against threats, they’re basically set. We, on the other hand, must balance two additional drives:

·  To bond with, trust and care for other people (and to be trusted and cared for by them)

·  To make sense of our lives (understand the “why” and “how”)

These additional drives allow us to adapt better than lower animals, but they also give us more to react to and consider when making decisions. We must balance our teams’ needs and desires against those of the boss, corporation, customers, environment and self.

We are built to work and achieve in groups: to lead and follow, to learn from each other, to trust, to protect and care for each other, to acquire what we need collectively even if we later enjoy it individually. We have evolved in this way because it’s a very successful means of survival.

Bad Leadership Defined

We expect the best from our leaders, but we’ve become inured to news reports of serious political, business and organizational failures — from Wall Street’s historic financial meltdowns to tolerance of child abuse in religious institutions.

Bad leadership becomes an appalling part of the human condition when those at the top focus solely on acquiring more for themselves. “Horrible bosses” have no interest in bonding and getting along with others (unless it furthers their agenda). They spend more time covering up their crimes than finding legitimate ways to succeed.

Good leaders take appropriate actions and make sound decisions that are not based on self-interest. They manage all four drives, recognizing that inaction and lousy decisions spring from focusing on only one or two drives, to the exclusion of others.

A Leadership Advantage

We cannot afford to be “mystified” by our own and others’ behaviors. We’ve seen how destructive we can be to each other. Corporate misdeeds have a significant reach as the world becomes an increasingly global village.

Professor Lawrence’s theory of the four drives is universal, testable and actionable. Time will tell if it gains favor as a basis for understanding motivation and drives.

For now, gaining an understanding of these drives gives you a tremendous leadership advantage — a valuable lens through which to view people’s behaviors. You can develop these qualities by working with a professional coach.The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders put positive leadership into action? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more inspiring? Inspiring leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I an inspiring leader who helps individuals and organizations achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop more positive teams.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders nurture mindful conversations in the workplace. You can become a mindful leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman

Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach|
Trusted Advisor to Executive Leadership Teams
Mindfulness & Emotional Intelligence Workplace Expert

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” — Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

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