Tag psychology

Maslow and motivation

Maslow and motivation

Where does your drive come from?

 

Maslow wrote one of the most famous theories about motivation: the Hierarchy of Needs. However, this is just one of the multiple existent theories about motivation

The origin of motivation can be uncertain because it is the by-product of multiple combinations of variables. But we all know that motivation is fundamental. It is a key factor for continual improvement and growth.

Motivation at work is paramount and can determine our professional future, and in many ways, our daily life as well.

Motivation is a fire we all need to keep feeding!

How motivation leads to success is a question I get asked frequently, but to better understand the possible answers, we need to explore the different theories behind them a little.

 


What will we be covering here

Theories on motivation

Maslow

Maslow’s pyramid

Critics and updates

Relevance and examples

Theories

Some of the most famous theories about motivation are:

📌 Hierarchy of needs, by Maslow.

📌 ERG theory: Existence needs, relatedness needs and growth needs, by Alderfer.

📌 Two-factor theory, by Herzberg.

📌 Reinforcement theory, by Skinner.

📌 Need for achievement, affiliation and power, by McClelland.

There is also:

📌 Adams’ equity theory

📌 Locke’s goal-setting theory

as well as so many more.

 

In this post, we will cover one of the most famous theory’s: Maslow’s.

 

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

American psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed, in his 1943 paper called “A Theory of Human Motivation“, a first draft of what would be a complete theory regarding human needs.

That theory would be fully explained later in his 1954 book, Motivation and Personality.

At the time, it revolutionised the behavioural sciences worldwide.

Based on stages, Maslow envisioned a theory that takes into consideration the universal needs of human beings and also, that those needs would be at the base of human motivation.

Each level represents a need that must be satisfied first in order to move forward.

That’s the drive for motivation: ultimately, the satisfaction of the needs. And the ultimate goal would be to attain the last level.

The theory is typically depicted as a pyramid where, at the bottom, we find the fundamental, physiological needs (those that relate to survival) and then self-actualisation at the top, the needs that deal with personal growth and development.

 

Moivation

Let’s take a look at the hierarchy in detail:

1. Physiological needs. Here we find the need for food, sleep and any activity that prevents distress at a physical level.

2. Safety needs. Here, Maslow talks about the need for safety in terms of protection and being free from danger.

3. Social needs. At this level we find the need for love, affection, friendship, and also, a sense of acceptance, community and belonging.

4. Self-image needs. Also known as self-esteem, includes self-respect, the feeling of achievement and being respected.

5. Self-actualisation needs. The last stop, the ultimate attainable goal. This includes the need to grow and develop as well as the need for personal fulfilment.

How is the theory viewed in today’s world?

Maslow’s theory has been deeply criticised mainly because he made it perfectly clear that each level of the “ladder” had to be climbed before passing to the next one.

In 1976, Wahba and Bridwell presented a paper about the need for additional research that backs up the theory.

In 2010, Renovating the Pyramid of Needs: Contemporary Extensions Built Upon Ancient Foundations, a paper by Douglas T. Kenrick, Vladas Griskevicius, Steven L. Neuberg, and Mark Schaller, published in Perspect Psychol Sci, proposed a new theory (with more levels) and not without controversy.

Today’s view of this is slightly different, as levels are regarded as continuously overlapping each other and not as a strict hierarchy.

 

“Motivation theory is not synonymous with behavior theory. The motivations are only one class of determinants of behavior. While behavior is almost always motivated, it is also almost always biologically, culturally and situationally determined as well.” 
― Abraham H. Maslow, A Theory of Human Motivation

 

Why is his theory of any relevance to us?

Because you can use it as a route map, to develop a style of entrepreneurship, management or leadership focused on the needs of your clients, teams, employees and stakeholders.

For example, if you’re an executive or a manager, you can use it in the workplace for:

🔸 Improving safety in the workplace
🔸 Promoting cooperation and teamwork
🔸 Giving credit and value
🔸 Providing space for career guidance and mentoring

If you are an entrepreneur, you might get ideas for producing products or services that have to do with some of the needs. For example:

🔸 Offering support and insurance, as in a refund or a 100% satisfaction guarantee policy
🔸 Creating bonds and the sense of belonging, as in social media communities

Also, if you want to appeal to the need for esteem, you can touch on any area related to lifestyle, vehicles, clubs, entrepreneurship, entertainment, beverages, etc.

And any charity, social responsibility or investment will be linked to the highest level of fulfilment: Self-Actualization.

“Self-actualized people…live more in the real world of nature than in the man-made mass of concepts, abstractions, expectations, beliefs and stereotypes that most people confuse with the world.” 
― Abraham Maslow, Hierarchy of Needs: A Theory of Human Motivation

 

More examples

Public speaker and author Denise Brosseau, in her course “Becoming a Thought Leader”, mentions that Chip Conley updated Maslow’s hierarchy when he was writing his book about “building one hotel into the second-largest boutique hotel chain in the world”, so that the resultant framework was detailed enough to clearly show the principles behind his actions”

And in fact, in his book, Peak, Conley shows how to apply the “fulfilment principle” to a company, so the businesses can achieve their fullest potential.


Before closing, I’d like to suggest a very short exercise which has already been shared with my LinkedIn friends. It is about self-motivation, and I’d like to know the results if you give it a try.

It goes like this:

📌 write down (in capital letters) one goal you want to accomplish. Just one goal!

📌 below that, write down the reasons for wanting that. Think about Maslow’s pyramid and write down which of the mentioned needs this goal will fulfil

📌 now, write one thing that you can do TODAY to be closer to that goal. An achievable, realistic, very simple thing, you can do TODAY to be closer to that feeling of achievement

📌 commit to it

📌 at the end of the day, go back to your writing and reflect: did you do it? How does it feel?

Drop me a line and let me know.


3 types of empathy for a better life (and business)

3 types of empathy for a better life (and business)


Empathy: a definition

The term empathy was introduced to the English language by American psychologist E.B. Titchener. He coined “empathy” as a translation of the German word “Einfühlung”, but at the time, he was referring more to other phenomena, such as motor mimicry (an imitation of other people’s behaviour).

But what we understand today, is different.

Simply put, empathy can be defined as the ability to comprehend others’ thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand what is going on, without needing to have had the same experience.

Empathy takes more time and effort than sympathy and it is built on self-awareness.

Why? Because mastering your own emotions leads to being open enough (and willing to) understand others’ emotions as well.

“(…) when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action.”
― Daniel Goleman, Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

What will we be covering here

The importance of empathy

Which results?

Three types of empathy

Words matter

Empathy in the workplace

How to practice empathy

How to improve it

Ever since my first blog post about Emotional Intelligence, I’ve always said that empathy, like any other skill, can be learnt and improved. Just like a muscle. You can take it to the gym to prevent decay or work on it daily to make it strong and significant.

The importance of empathy in our daily life is pretty understandable; but why are its results of such vital importance when it comes to business?

Because if we can tune ourselves to our customers, co-workers, peers and superiors, we might be able to get better and faster results.

Just to name a few of them:

👉 Improving timing and quality in the delivery of goods or services, according to our clients’ needs

👉 Making important and long-lasting connections with key members in the organisation

👉 Being able to solve difficulties or help others with hindrances in time

👉 Creating bonds and connections forming the basis of loyalty

👉 Opening the doors to innovation based on mutual trust and respect

Empathy has its roots in self-awareness, nurtures itself in self-management and paves the way to relationship management.

TOP TIP

As with any other skill, empathy needs to be interlinked with other competencies and work in tandem with them to really perform at its maximum potential. 

The three types of empathy according to the Goleman model

Psychologists Daniel Goleman and Paul Ekman broke down the concept of empathy into the following three categories: Cognitive, Emotional and Compassionate.

Let’s take a quick look at them:

Cognitive empathy

This refers to the ability to comprehend what a person might feel or think. It is like a channel of “information”.
It answers the question: “What is the other person going through?” For example, “Tom would like to speak with his supervisor about a possible promotion, but he seems to have difficulties in finding the right way to open up a conversation ” or “My clients have been asking for a direct channel of communication with my business; the Q&A page on my website does not seem to be enough for them”.

Emotional empathy

This refers to the ability to understand the feelings of another person through an emotional connection. It answers the question: “How does the other person feel?” For example: “Tom feels his supervisor is not going to pay attention to his request, he feels intimidated and insecure and this is why he is delaying the conversation” or “My clients feel frustrated as they would like to have a direct channel of communication, with a real person and not a bot”.

Compassionate empathy

This is the third type, and goes far beyond the first two, as it involves action: if we understand and share the feelings of the other person, we can actually help. It answers the question: “What can I do to help?” For example, “I might help Tom to find ways to open up and be confident” or “I will implement a direct channel of communication on my website and a customer service line on Social Media”.

TOP TIP: words matter.

Showing empathy through words helps.

After encountering a new situation and needing more information: “Would you mind telling me more about this? The more I know, the quicker we can get it sorted”

After discovering a new event or situation: “I just wanted to let you know that I understand what you feel”

After receiving an email with a request or comment: “Would it be more convenient for you to discuss this over the phone or in person?

If you feel ready to take action: “Is there anything I can do for you? ”

Empathy in the workplace

In their 4th annual empathy study, Businessolvers’ report shows that:

📌 72% of CEOs say the state of empathy needs to evolve

📌 58% of them struggle with showing it in a consistent way

It is clear that there is still a lot to be done. Even though corporations are aware of the importance of incorporating empathy into the culture of the organization, there is still a gap between the intention and the action.

Making empathy part of the company’s culture calls for a conscious effort.


Why is it so important to build emotional empathy and implement it?

Research has already proven that empathy, among other things:

👉 boosts productivity
👉 accelerates innovation
👉 increases loyalty and customer satisfaction
👉 creates long term bonds and cooperation

So, given that there is still so much to do in this field, let’s take a look at simple but effective solutions that we can implement right away:

• Show gratitude: say thank you more often, appreciate the time and effort that others invest in you, your product and your service. Give credit for the things well done. Being grateful not only creates bonds but also shows respect and helps with dignity.

• Show you listen: practicing active listening restores confidence and helps build loyalty. A high percentage of employees, as well as customers, feel their opinion doesn’t matter. Make yourself available: create surveys, ask direct questions, handle 1-to-1 meetings, be sure that your customer service is giving the needed assistance.

• Share stories with a positive outlook, whenever you can but especially before beginning a meeting. Sharing creates a bond and helps to set an ambiance of collaboration and willingness, openness and receptiveness.

• Listen to your co-workers and team members. Make some extra time to give others the opportunity to share. Make room, physically and emotionally, for the others’ experiences. Let people talk and listen to their stories.

3 top tips to improve your empathy

👉 Know yourself and your emotions

👉Practice active listening

👉 Open up space for reflection

 

👉 Know yourself: self-awareness and self-management are the first steps that will help you improve empathy. Both will help you with: knowing yourself, your emotions and reactions, and also, being ready to manage your own feelings, creating, with confidence, a space to listen carefully to others.

👉Practice active listening and connect with the other person. Be interested in speech but also in body language. Open yourself up to understand and if you don’t, ask questions, be curious and willing to learn and understand new perspectives. Focus on understanding the situation (cognitive empathy) and how the person feels (emotional empathy).

👉 Open up space for reflection and practice self-awareness: you can relate to the others’ experience if you have had a similar one, but you can also imagine how it looks if you don’t. Explore your own feelings and emotions and ask yourself what you would do in a similar situation. Get ready to implement a solution and take action, showing compassionate empathy. Simply, ask: how can I help?

 


By now, you know that developing these skills will certainly help improve your social and emotional intelligence quotients.

If you want to improve this important skill, book a free 15-minute consultation with me. After the call, you will get a follow-up email with my proposed plan of action.

 

What is Mindfulness and how it can help your business

What is Mindfulness and how it can help your business

“I define mindfulness as paying attention to our present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is. It is a deliberate application of attention. ”

-Diana Winston, The Little Book of Being

I’ve been asked about this topic a lot lately. Mainly because it is one of those things everybody talks about but not many truly understand.

Moreover: it can be confused with so many other things.

The fact is, that Mindfulness is a practice that definitely helps your business. A lot. Because it is based on information we already have about how our brain functions.

Neuroscience and psychology have worked closely together over the last 20 years, making discoveries that are reshaping the way we see the world, and ourselves.

So… I propose that we break the myth and explore the following together…what is mindfulness? What is not mindfulness? How do you practice it?

What will we be covering here?

What is mindfulness?

What it is not?

Which are its benefits?

How to practice it

Breathing

Attentive Observation

Self-Awareness Practice

Mindful Presence

What is it 👉

Mindfulness refers to the ability to be aware of yourself and be fully present with what is going on, in the actual moment. When you function as an impartial observer, you are a witness of the processes and experiences occurring in the “now”.

What it is not 👉

It is not praying; it is not meditation; it is not a religious or “new age” thing.

What are the benefits of practising?

📍 more connection with the present and self-control

📍 better communication (improving your active listening)

📍 ability to pause before a decision or action

📍 developing patience and openness

📍 more attention and concentration capacities

📍 increased efficiency and productivity

📍 stress reduction

Living in the present is something that is difficult to achieve; you constantly make mental references and comparisons to the past, and your hopes and dreams can place you in the future too much, a future of which you cannot be certain.

Rooting yourself, with the body and the mind, helps you fully experience the here and now, creating a space of calmness, focus and serenity.

Awareness of the present moment helps you to better cope with situations and emotions. 

Both can be a source of stress and anxiety.

How to practice it 👉

By using different techniques, including (but not exclusively) meditation, breathing exercises, body sensations and emotions, visual exercises to gain focus, word repetition, optical illusions etc.

Let’s check out some of these techniques in detail 👇

Breathing

Breath is a powerful way to connect with your whole body. It is a natural and automated function of your body, namely to bring in oxygen and flush out carbon dioxide.

Nasal breathing is important as it allows the coordination of the electrical brain signals in the olfactory cortex, which then coordinates the amygdala and the hippocampus, which are in charge of processing your emotions and memory.

Did you know that the discovery of the dominant nostril within Western civilization,

back in 1895, is owed to the German physician Richard Kayser?

Yoga and other ancient traditions have been working with this method for thousands of years.

Occident and Orient arrived at the same conclusion, just at different times.

Practice: You only need one minute, but of course the more time you practice, the better the results.
You can be sitting, lying or even standing, but try to feel comfortable.

Top tip: if you can, set aside a regular time to practice, ideally on a daily basis, beginning with a minute per day and increasing the time little by little.

🔶 Inhale deeply through your nose whilst counting to 4
🔶 Hold your breath and count to 4
🔶 Exhale through your nose whilst counting to 4

If you get distracted, gently come back to the exercise. Even if your mind wanders a thousand times, you can always return to the present moment and try again, inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4.

There are so many different breathing techniques and methods. If you lean towards the Yogic method, I highly recommend you pay a visit to Kia Miller and practice with her, even just for five minutes (to begin with).

Another option is the one that Diana Winston proposes here: Five-minute breathing


Attentive Observation

Learning to observe, as opposed to simply looking at or watching, helps you to be in the present moment and appreciate all the qualities of a certain object, person or situation.

This exercise takes just a minute, max. 2. and it is a simple and effective way to increase your awareness and relationship with the present moment.

🔶 To fully absorb the benefits of this, pick a random object, preferably in the natural environment
🔶 Be specific: if you pick a tree, look for a leaf that grabs your attention
🔶 Focus on its shape. What is it? Round or elongated? Does it have a distinctive colour? Is the colour uniform or does it have different tonalities to it?
🔶 Observe, as an impartial witness. Don’t judge or qualify (don’t think in terms of “pretty colours”). Just observe and mentally repeat “green” for example

Repeat daily, with different objects, and begin to notice how you feel both during the exercise and after it.


Self-Awareness Practice

We already spoke about this skill in my post Why is Self-awareness so important for better business. 

Doing the following exercise, you can regain control, simply by recognising your emotions at the precise moment they occur.

🔶 Pick two different moments in your day: one, when you are about to do something pleasant (let’s say you’re about to listen to some of your favourite music, after a long day of work). The other, when you’re about to do something that you have to do but you don’t enjoy (let’s say you have to write a letter of complaint)

🔶 Pay attention to the moment and all the emotions that arise from it: joy, tranquillity, pleasure, as well as the uncomfortable feelings: disdain, sadness. Make a mental note and stay with this feeling for as long as you can

🔶 Additionally, pay attention to how you manage your time with regard to that specific action: do you tend to procrastinate the unpleasant and overextend the pleasant moment?

🔶 Remember, no judgments, just observations. Stay with the moment

Mindful presence

This particular exercise is excellent if you find yourself worried about future events or dwelling on the past too often. It will help you gain sensibility, attentiveness and focus as well as helping you stop the fluctuation of your mind.

Therefore, it is an excellent method for reducing stress:

🔶 Pick a normal, daily action: turning on the computer, cleaning the house, shopping at the supermarket, commuting

🔶 Pay attention to each and every detail related to that action

🔶 Repeat the actions you perform, mentally: “I am going to put on my coat and open the door. I am closing the door now, and I can feel the wind in my face. It is cold. I am walking to my car. I get in the car and prepare myself to drive to the supermarket”

🔶 The more detail you can pick out, the better

This type of exercise helps enormously when you are trying to cope with anxiety, which usually manifests itself in form of impatience. Instead of focusing on the end result, concentrate instead on each specific part of the task.

Each part of a certain task is important in itself, and being mindful of each part leads to a better outcome and, without any doubt, to a more serene state of mind. This way, you can begin to enjoy the experience and open the door to creativity and emotion.

 —–

By now, you know that practising mindfulness can help you cope with anxiety and stress enormously, as well as help you improve your social and emotional intelligence quotients.

 

Why can Self-Management improve your business effectively?

Why can Self-Management improve your business effectively?

Because, for entrepreneurs and leaders alike,

Self-Management is the secret ingredient to success.

Moreover: self-management can be learnt and improved, like any other emotional skill.


In my last blog, we explored the basics of self-awareness
one of the key components of Emotional Intelligence.

Today we will dive into Self-Management and its competencies, trying to understand what they are and how we can implement better techniques and strategies to ensure they keep improving.

What will we be covering here?

What is Self-Management?

Emotional Self-Control

Self-Control: Top Tips

Adaptability

Adaptability: Top Tips

Achievement Drive

Achievement Drive Tips

Positive Outlook

Positive Outlook Top Tips

Self-Management

Let’s briefly talk about the 4 competencies under the Self-Management umbrella:

👉Emotional Self-Control

Once you have identified your emotion, the next step is to take control of it. If you can manage your emotions, you can remain calm and focused amid the most stressful situation and be of help to your co-workers and team in addition to yourself. Keeping disruptive emotions at bay is fundamental for anyone, especially for leaders.

👉Adaptability

This is the ability to be flexible and change the course of action according to the circumstances, without losing sight of the end goal. Learning how to develop this skill enables you to be flexible, without adding any stress. Life is unpredictable at the best of times, so uncertainty is expected and to be comfortable with it, is a great accomplishment.

👉Achievement Drive. Initiative and Innovation

This competence is key and entails striving towards goals whilst maintaining a standard of excellence, accepting the challenges you might encounter en route but, at the same time, improving performance and being ready to welcome opportunities. Being open to innovation is crucial in an era where everything around us changes at lightning speed.

👉Positive Outlook

The way you see the world changes your outlook of it. You can build your whole universe and turn each and every situation into an opportunity. The future always holds opportunities for improvement and positive outcomes.

Self-Management

 

So now, let’s dive in and explore how to improve each one of them!

EMOTIONAL SELF-CONTROL

“The goal is balance, not emotional suppression: every feeling has its value and significance”

Dr. Daniel Goleman – Emotional Intelligence

Dr. Goleman defines Emotional Self-Control as “the ability to manage disturbing emotions and remain effective, even in stressful situations”.

Emotional Balance (as you can also call it) speaks loudly and clearly about benefitting from the ability to manage your emotions after acknowledging their existence. Emotions can be intrusive and overwhelming.

As you may have seen previously, emotions can’t be denied nor suppressed and you cannot then avoid dealing with them. If you try to do this, you end up setting them free and this is when they take control of your body and mind.

This is why Self-awareness is so important: managing your emotions involves recognition and acceptance.

When you know what you feel, you can act accordingly. Better yet: you can learn to detect the triggers that, in certain situations, pave the way for certain reactions.

Self-control will give you the possibility to remain calm, in control and to think clearly, even in the most stressful situations.

 Self-Control Top Tips

The goal? To keep emotions in check. This will lead to well-being and success.

How can you improve it? Practice mindfulness: this will help develop your ability to pay attention without judging and help you identify what is going on without acting. Mindfulness also helps to improve observation and patience.

ADAPTABILITY 

Change is the magic door that leads to new opportunities, but the fear of the unknown can keep you paralysed. Adaptability is a key emotional competence and if you master it, uncertainty can be embraced with confidence.

The first thing to know about Adaptability is that it is the best competence to have for enabling your business to weather the storms. It allows you to not only embrace challenges but also take risks.

Being able to change perspectives means situations can be open to new developments.

What are the benefits of mastering this skill?

👉 You will feel comfortable with change

👉 You will also anticipate change and make the most of it

👉 You will be able to envision different scenarios and possibilities to attain your goals

👉 You won’t be afraid to take necessary risks

Adaptability Top Tips

The goal? Transforming the fear of the unknown into a world of NEW OPPORTUNITIES

How can you improve it? Get out of your comfort zone and pay attention to what happens. Begin with little things (change your favourite cafe, for example). Explore.

 Note: Leaders with this skill can remain focused in the middle of any storm and moreover, can be ready to receive uncertainty with open arms.

ACHIEVEMENT ORIENTATION

Enthusiasm and persistence in the face of setbacks have an undeniable payoff. Motivation is a powerful tool you can fuel on a daily basis, remembering your values and goals.

Achievement orientation is a skill that shows your capacity for permanent improvement. It generates new interests and gives you a reason for continued learning and expanding your horizons.

Do you have enough passion for what you do? This is the hidden driver that will lead you to excel in all that you do.

Setting high goals, working hard to achieve them and calculating the risks worth taking en route, is the perfect definition of Achievement Orientation.

Note: Leaders who have developed this skill are able to create an achievement culture within their organizations.

Achievement Orientation Top Tips

The goal? Learning to detect and feed your motivation. Being ready to adapt yourself and to explore and conquer new horizons.

How can you improve it? Take a piece of paper and make four columns. Complete each one with the following: what are my core motives? What goals have I set? What I am doing to achieve them? How can I make room for improvement?

 

 

POSITIVE OUTLOOK

In short, this skill is all about the ability to turn any situation into a positive outcome, identifying its new opportunities.

It entails the ability to see the “big picture” and also, to expect the best in the future. A Positive Outlook can be the difference between defeat and success because mastering this skill will allow you to identify multiple solutions and more easily overcome obstacles.

Positive Outlooks lead to

👉 better performance

👉 higher motivation

👉 creation of new opportunities

👉 empowerment

👉 greater loyalty

👉 outstanding customer service

Note: Leaders with this skill have the ability to see opportunities where nobody else can, and also have resilience, as they understand setbacks in a different way: not necessarily as obstacles but as positive challenges.

Positive Outlook Top Tips

The goal? Learning new ways to think and respond, and clearly identifying the goals that, in the end, will give you meaning and purpose. 

How can you improve it? Write in a journal. Once a week, write down in as much detail as possible, an important event or situation that troubled you. After explaining the facts – including how you responded to it –  imagine at least 2 other possible conclusions for that event. 

 

 

By now, you know that developing these skills will certainly help improve your social and emotional intelligence quotients.

 


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