There are a few basic motives that explain much of human behavior. If you look for evidence of those basic motives, if you pay more attention to the other person’s motives, if you do some things that are in line with their motives, they will work more enthusiastically WITH you.
There are four such motives. In fact, the whole drama of life springs out of these four motives common to all of us.
a. I WANT TO LIVE.
You’ll hear people say, “When I’m ninety I won’t care if I’m dead.” And that’s the way people feel unless they’re eighty-nine and feel pretty good.
When a juice maker says it will add ten years to your life, you think you’ve got to have it. After all, you want to live.
And when a company reorganizes or downsizes, the employees almost always get frightened. They’re not sure if they’ll have a job and they’re not sure if they’ll be able to pay the bills or buy groceries, and that threatens their desire to live.
Tip: Whenever you want someone to work enthusiastically WITH you, think of some way that you can help them feel more alive.
Another basic motive says
b. I WANT TO FEEL IMPORTANT.
Almost everyone wants some attention, respect, prestige, or admiration.
Look at children. The little boy at the pool says, “Watch me, Mama. Watch me.” So Mama watches him, applauds him, and admires him. And the little boy glows.
Adults are the same. In fact, as I tell my audiences, “Adults are nothing more than babies in big bodies.”
Of course, people don’t run around openly demanding that people watch them. They don’t say, “Boss, look at me. Look at me.” Employees learn to do it more subtly. They seek the titles that will bring them greater respect. Or they learn how to look good when the boss is around.
The same goes for society as a whole. People desire the big cars, live in the fancy homes, and wear the finest clothing, hoping somebody else will notice. It’s all an attempt to feel important.
Tip: Whenever you want someone to work enthusiastically WITH you, do something to make them feel important.
Another strong, basic motive says,
c. I WANT TO BE CONNECTED.
I want to be liked and I want to feel loved. Almost no one wants to be left out, overlooked, or forgotten.
I just finished a series of interviews with the managers and employees of a particular organization. The organization has severe morale and motivational problems and it was my job to get to the bottom of the problem.
As I interviewed the people, I kept hearing the same thing over and over again. The people kept saying, “They don’t seem to care about us…They never ask us what we think…They don’t listen to our suggestions…” The people felt disconnected.
When it comes to personal relationships, the same is true. Almost everyone wants to feel connected — or loved. Unfortunately, there are more people who want to be loved than are willing to do the loving. As one young woman said, “I was involved in a triangle. He and I were both in love with him.”
And almost everyone seeks the security of a permanent and enduring love. Despite all the TV hype and glamorization of the no-ties, swinging, single lifestyle, almost everyone in that lifestyle is trying to escape it. They’re looking for something deeper and more lasting.
That’s why one young man asked his girlfriend if she loved him. “Yes, I do,” Suzanne said.
“Would you die for me?” Jason continued.
“No,” Suzanne said. “Mine is an undying love.”
Tip: Whenever you want someone to work enthusiastically WITH you, think of what you can do to help them feel and be more connected.
The last of the four basic motives says,
d. I WANT A LITTLE VARIETY AND CHANGE.
Humans tire of the same thing. They hate monotony and hope to escape the sameness of their daily routines through vacations, TV, and movies.
When a woman goes to her closet filled with clothes and says she has nothing to wear, she’s not talking about her lack of garments. She’s saying she doesn’t have anything new and different and exciting to wear. She wants a little variety and change.
When an employee complains that nothing ever changes around here, he’s talking about his desire for improvement. He can think of better ways to get the job done, or he can see the possibility of more effective teamwork — and he sure would like to see those changes take place.
Tip: Whenever you want someone to work enthusiastically WITH you, think of what you can do to put a little more variety and change into their personal or professional lives.
Final Thought: You can get people to work WITH you if you’re a giver and give more attention to what motivates them.