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More about Needs

PDF_shot_2From the book:
“The Motivated Brain” – written by Helle Bundgaard, Founder, Motivation Factor and Jefferson Roy, neuroscientist, The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT.
(
All rights reserved – Motivationfactor 2015)


 

Needs

Our ability to recognize and respond to our own and others’ Needs is not only essential to motivation, it is also an important way to prevent stress. We are constantly confronted with things that threaten our Needs, and the more frequently our Needs are threatened, the higher the state of mental and interpersonal distress. Being in a long-term state of “threat” can bring about the condition we now recognize as burnout. The Needs level of the hierarchy represents our ability to be aware of and responsible for the impact of our personal Needs on the achievement of our goals.

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When Needs are compromised, you might observe:

  • Interpersonal conflicts
  • Misalignment of goals and expectations within and across departments
  • Frustration with or lack of tolerance of diverse ideas or approaches
  • ”Silos” where work is carried out without regard for or integration with other parts of the organization
  • ”Hallway conversations” where communication or decisions are made outside of formal and open channels

Being aware of and being able to manage our Energy and Needs helps us to better understand and manage our behaviors and relationships. Much like finding and releasing the emergency brake on a car, we free ourselves from the friction and drag of Energy Drainers and threatened Needs and are able to become better resourced – from a neuropsychological standpoint – in our efforts to re-engage.

Motivation Capability is the competency of knowing and doing what it takes to remove obstacles and Energy Drainers and mitigate the impact of our personal Needs.

The Nature of Needs

In this chapter we explore Needs, the second level of the hierarchy of motivation. It is well known that all human beings have similar basic Needs such as health, safety and belonging. The concept of Needs is well described in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs1,2. In addition to basic needs, every individual has a set of more nuanced personal Needs and it is these Needs that are most influential in guiding personal responses to everyday events and motivation. Our ability to recognize and respond to our own and others’ Needs is an important way to reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, understanding and managing our Needs has a further impact on our personal and interpersonal development. For teams, this is important to enhance the productive collaboration of multiple people all with their own set of Needs.

In the Motivation Factor framework, Needs are patterns of behavior that make us feel comfortable and safe. When one of our Needs is not met we feel threatened and usually respond with a visceral or primitive emotion such as anger, fear, or even violence. Of course this stress response (fight or flight reaction) is appropriate when we are being attacked by a tiger, but not appropriate when a colleague constantly interrupts you. Surprisingly, the same physiological response is triggered in the brain in both situations11. We are constantly confronted with things that threaten our Needs, and the more frequently our Needs are threatened, the higher the state of mental distress. This chapter will explain how Motivation Factor framework determines individual Needs and then how to work with them to diminish the visceral response, reduce stress, and enhance personal communication.

Identifying your Needs

Try to remember an instance where you lost control after someone or something “pressed your buttons”. It is possible you reproached someone with a severity that you realized afterwards was completely out of proportion with what happened. This is a classic example of a reaction to a need not being met. In these types of situations where you were threatened enough to evoke the fight or flight response thereby invoking the stress response11. Now your reaction is governed by more primitive emotions and not rational well-thought out reasoning.

Indeed, our stress response is triggered when:

  • We believe that our personal Needs will not be met
  • Someone is preventing us from meeting our personal Needs, or
  • We believe we have to fight to have our Needs met.

In a dysfunctional team setting, the following traits can be observed when interactions are governed by fight or flight reactions:

  • Interpersonal conflicts
  • Misalignment of goals and expectations within and across departments
  • Frustration with or lack of tolerance of diverse ideas or approaches
  • ”Silos” where work is carried out without regard for or integration with other parts of the organization
  • ”Hallway conversations” where communication or decisions are made outside of formal and open channels

By understanding our own and others’ Needs, we free our brain up to more effectively learn, grow and manage change. Once interactions are not governed by our primitive reactions both individually and within teams, the relational understanding and openness to growth results in:

  • Higher productivity
  • Fewer conflicts
  • Greater resilience
  • Increased cognitive ability and capacity for innovation and growth

A powerful effect of not having our Needs met is that we judge the people we assume responsible in very negative ways. For example:

  • “The marketing manager is incompetent”
  • “The accounting department is lazy”
  • “My manager is a control freak”
  • “I’m the only one who does anything around here”
  • “That VP is a pompous jerk”
  • “I’m not working with her because she rude and disrespectful”
  • “No one appreciates my work”
  • “If they would follow the rules everything would work fine”

Sound familiar? It’s a wonder how any of these incompetent, lazy, pompous, rude, rule breaking, disrespectful people GET jobs never mind keep them! But is their character that inherently flawed? Do they wake up each morning, stretch and greet the sunrise saying ”What a GREAT day! I can’t wait to get to work and be uncooperative. I think I’ll refuse to see the plain facts and maybe interrupt a few people while they try to make a point. Yeah…It’s going to be a good one.” I’ll wager a guess that most don’t. So what makes them behave in ways that are unproductive, nonsensical and even damaging? The answer is our own personal Needs have skewed the way we perceive others. When our personal Needs are threatened we blame and judge.

Participants in Motivation Factor workshops have offered a wide variety of responses when asked what kind of behaviors they dislike the most in other people. Answered include selfishness, interrupting, arrogance, laziness, disrespect, rudeness, and excuse-making. When asked to recall their reaction to the last encounter, typically one of three types of answers is given: 1) ”I wanted to punch them in the nose” (fight) reaction, 2) ”I disengage or withdraw” (flight) reaction, or 3) ”I didn’t know what to do” (freeze) reaction. None of these response is conducive to effective interactions.

 


The Motivated Brain was released June 13th 2014 as:

PDF_shot_2

  • e-book
  • Kindle-book, and..
  • Paperback

..on Amazon.com. See reviews here.


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