At the start of the 20th century, psychoanalysis pioneer Sigmund Freud proposed that people are driven by sex and power—but there’s much more to it than that. By the 1950s, psychologist Abraham Maslow identified our “hierarchy” of basic needs, which include shelter, food, clothing, ego and belonging. After these needs were met, he said, we’re driven toward self-actualization—a state very few achieve.
In the 1960s, MIT management professor Douglas McGregor applied Maslow’s ideas to the business world. He asserted that once basic salary needs were met, workers had higher drives that weren’t contingent on rewards or punishments. If managers could tap into people’s inner motivations by granting more autonomy and respect, they would spur greater performance.
Harvard psychology professor David McClelland later identified three motivators in leaders: drives to achieve, attain power and affiliate with others.
Despite all of these studies, businesses continue to use monetary incentives instead of tapping into employees’ intrinsic motivations. Perhaps one can chalk this up to fuzzy, anachronistic notions about what motivates people.
A new theory suggests each of us has four basic drives that have existed since our cavemen days. These drives, which have allowed us to survive, are embedded in our DNA and actively chart the course for our daily behaviors.
We are driven by human nature to acquire, bond, learn and defend.
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The complete 1,000 word article includes these important concepts:
• The Drive to Acquire
• The Drive to Bond
• The Drive to Learn
• The Drive to Defend
• The Balancing Act
• The Dark Side of Drives
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