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Toward a New Curriculum of Leadership Competencies: Advances in Motivation Science Call for Rethinking Leadership Development

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Abstract

The Problem Leadership competencies are designed to equip leaders with the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics, required to effectively lead people toward the achievement of organizational goals. However, advances in motivation science, specifically the development of self-determination theory, suggest that many current leadership competency models contain outdated approaches to motivation that undermine their intended purpose of leadership effectiveness. The Solution New motivation leadership competencies grounded in self-determination theory are recommended to promote leadership behaviors that support people’s psychological needs. These foundational competencies take advantage of compelling motivation research to provide a filtering mechanism for culling outdated competencies proven to undermine effective performance, but also provide the basis for congruent leadership skills that promote flourishing in the workplace. The Stakeholders Human resource development (HRD) practitioners will benefit from the rationale and recommendations for introducing a new set of competencies based on self-determination theory into their leadership development efforts. While executives or leaders in the team and organizational contexts will appreciate the consideration of expanding or rethinking their own leader behaviors, the new competencies are most relevant for leaders of individual contributors in the one-to-one context.
https://doi.org/10.1177/1523422318756644
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Article
Toward a New Curriculum
of Leadership Competencies:
Advances in Motivation
Science Call for Rethinking
Leadership Development
Susan Fowler1
Abstract
The Problem.
Leadership competencies are designed to equip leaders with the knowledge, skills,
abilities, and other characteristics, required to effectively lead people toward the
achievement of organizational goals. However, advances in motivation science,
specifically the development of self-determination theory, suggest that many current
leadership competency models contain outdated approaches to motivation that
undermine their intended purpose of leadership effectiveness.
The Solution.
New motivation leadership competencies grounded in self-determination theory are
recommended to promote leadership behaviors that support people’s psychological
needs. These foundational competencies take advantage of compelling motivation
research to provide a filtering mechanism for culling outdated competencies proven
to undermine effective performance, but also provide the basis for congruent
leadership skills that promote flourishing in the workplace.
The Stakeholders.
Human resource development (HRD) practitioners will benefit from the rationale
and recommendations for introducing a new set of competencies based on self-
determination theory into their leadership development efforts. While executives or
leaders in the team and organizational contexts will appreciate the consideration of
expanding or rethinking their own leader behaviors, the new competencies are most
relevant for leaders of individual contributors in the one-to-one context.
1University of San Diego, CA, USA
Corresponding Author:
Susan Fowler, The Ken Blanchard Companies and University of San Diego Senior Consulting Partner,
The Ken Blanchard Companies, 15644 Kingman Rd., Poway, CA 92064.
Email: susan@susanfowler.com
756644ADHXXX10.1177/1523422318756644Advances in Developing Human ResourcesFowler
research-article2018
2 Advances in Developing Human Resources 00(0)
Keywords
motivation, leadership competencies, leadership development, self-determination
theory.
Employee development is one of the most time-honored and vital duties within human
resources (HR) functions (McLagan, 1989). Competencies specify the knowledge,
skills, abilities, and other characteristics, required for effective performance (Rodriguez,
Patel, Bright, Gregory, & Gowing, 2002; Schippmann et al., 2000). Central to employee
development, competencies are the basis for training curricula, performance standards
and reviews, promotion criteria, and career planning. Beyond employee development,
competencies also influence protocol and decision making for selection and hiring, com-
pensation schemes, retention management, succession planning, and supporting organi-
zational change.
While competencies affect employee development at all levels and within a variety
of contexts, this article focuses on the competencies and skills a leader uses in the one-
to-one leadership context to develop and guide individual staff members. Leadership
in the one-to-one context presents the most intriguing opportunity for immediately and
directly impacting employee performance, employee engagement and work passion,
culture, and organizational results (Zigarmi, Fowler, & Lyles, 2007).
Scientific breakthroughs in understanding human motivation provide an impetus
for rethinking the competencies required for leading in the one-to-one context. The
purpose of this article is to recommend three new motivation competencies based on
the unifying framework of self-determination theory (SDT). These foundational com-
petencies are designed to promote leader behaviors that ensure people thrive while
achieving organizational goals.
Genesis of Competencies
Providing the rationale for rethinking leadership competencies can best be appreci-
ated by understanding how the current landscape of leadership competencies devel-
oped historically and the role motivation played in its evolution. Variations of four
base leadership competencies established by Evers and colleagues, namely, manag-
ing self, communicating, managing people and tasks, and mobilizing innovation
and change (Evers, Rush, & Berdrow, 1998), are widely accepted and are still rel-
evant in today’s workplace, with added consideration for global complexity and
dynamic techno-social realities (Berdrow & Evers, 2014; Chalofsky, Rocco, &
Morris, 2014).
Within the base leadership competencies, many of the specific leader actions and
requisite skills for how to manage people and tasks were derived from turn-of-the-
century thinking, such as those established in 1916 by Henri Fayol and his 14 princi-
ples of management, which was popularized in the early 1950s (Fayol & Storrs, 1949).
Fayol’s name may not be evoked today, but research on competencies currently in use
shows that Fayol’s ideas based on top-down, authoritarian, command and control
Fowler 3
principles continue to influence modern concepts of management (Evers & Rush,
1996; Wren, Bedeian, & Breeze, 2002).
In addition to Fayol’s influence, a variety of notable leadership theories have had a
major influence over the competencies that dictate current leadership development
strategies. A survey of top HR-related books and websites that guide management
strategy and competencies for “motivating and bringing out the best in employees”
cited six top leadership theories (“Popular Management Theories Decoded,” 2017).
They are Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Theory (1856-1915), Fayol’s Management
Principles (1841-1925), Max Weber’s Bureaucratic Theory (1864-1924), Elton Mayo’s
Human Relations Theory (1880-1949), Ludwig Von Bertalanffy’s Systems Theory
(1901-1972), and Douglas McGregor’s X&Y Theory (1906-1964).
Four of the six leadership theories-in-use have a top-down, authority-based, com-
mand and control approach to leadership in common. An argument can be made that
command and control leadership might be warranted when time is of the essence and
risks are high (Blanchard, Zigarmi, & Nelson, 1993). However, in general and over
time, this leadership style has been shown ineffective for developing people (Bass &
Bass, 2008), generating long-term or sustainable high performance (Gagne & Panaccio,
2014), or promoting people’s health and well-being (Ryan & Deci, 2017).
Except for McGregor, the most popular leadership theories influencing HR profes-
sionals also tend to be leader-centric rather than focused on employee needs.
Competencies based on these leadership theories represent different assumptions and
implications for motivating others, and, for the most part, consider employees’ needs
and the issue of motivation peripheral to leadership, rather than central or vital to
effective leadership.
Existing side-by-side with leader-centric competencies, three motivation theories
seem to have had the most influence on the development of leadership competencies
(Reio & Batista, 2014). They are Skinner’s Theory of Operant Conditioning (Skinner,
1938), McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory (McClelland, 1985), and Maslow’s
Hierarchy of Needs (Maslow, 1954).
B. F. Skinner’s Theory of Operant Conditioning, sometimes referred to as managing
with carrots and sticks, provides HR professionals and managers an easy way to legiti-
mize the command and control approach to management (Skinner, 1938). Those who
practice this theory assume that by controlling the consequences of an employee’s
behavior through rewards or punishment, they can shape an employee’s behavior
incrementally.
McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory posits that every person is driven to sat-
isfy the three needs for achievement, affiliation, or power (McClelland, 1985).
Research has shown, for example, that a person exhibiting a strong need for power
predicted successful leadership (McClelland & Broyatzis, 1982). Buoyed by such
findings, and McClelland’s role in competency development (McClelland, 1985),
Human resource development (HRD) professionals embraced competencies focused
on the strength of a leader’s need for achievement and power.
At some point in their careers, most leaders have either consciously—or more
likely, unwittingly—based (or justified) their approach to motivation on Maslow’s
4 Advances in Developing Human Resources 00(0)
Hierarchy of Needs (Maslow, 1954). Maslow’s idea that people are motivated by sat-
isfying lower level needs such as food, water, shelter, and security, before they can
move on to being motivated by higher level needs such as self-actualization, is prob-
ably the most well-known motivation theory in the world.
Potential Issues With Current Competency Models
Potential theoretical, operational, and pragmatic problems arise with competency
models that mix and match various leadership models and motivation theories.
Consider a common competency derived from Lominger’s original 67 competencies
(Lombardo & Eichinger, 2004) often found in a manager’s performance plan:
Drive for Results: Can be counted on to exceed goals successfully; is constantly and
consistently one of the top performers; very bottom-line oriented; steadfastly pushes self
and others for result. (Lombardo & Eichinger, 2004, p. 315)
This competency assumes that an effective leader has high needs for achievement and
power, potentially reflecting McClelland’s achievement theory. While McClelland’s
contributions to competency modeling are widely respected (McClelland & Broyatzis,
1982), more recent research finds that promoting leadership competencies based on
McClelland’s drive for achievement or power is just as likely to have negative conse-
quences for performance and well-being—for both the leader and the people being led
(Deci & Ryan, 2014). Leaders driven by needs for achievement, power, or affiliation
are more likely to generate low-quality motivation in themselves and others that com-
promises short-term results and sabotages long-term results (Gagne, 2014).
Consider another competency derived from Lominger’s original 67 competencies
(Lombardo & Eichinger, 2004) often found side-by-side the competency to Drive for
Results in a manger’s performance plan:
Motivating Others: Creates a climate in which people want to do their best; can motivate
many kinds of direct reports and team or project members; can assess each person’s hot
button and use it to get the best out of him/her; pushes tasks and decisions down;
empowers others; invites input from each person and shares ownership and visibility;
makes each individual feel his/her work is important; is someone people like working for
and with. (Lombardo & Eichinger, 2004, p. 219)
One way of interpreting hot buttons might be using carrots and sticks to motivate
people, which reflects Skinner’s operant conditioning approach which assumes a per-
son in power can manipulate people’s behavior through rewards and punishment.
Skinner’s influence on competencies that promote authoritarian leadership models
through external rewards (incentives, power, status, etc.) and punishment (pressure,
fear, guilt) cannot be underestimated. Current motivation science provides compel-
ling evidence that the tactics often used to drive for results thwart the type of motiva-
tion required to get those results (Ryan & Deci, 2017). Neither should we underestimate
the potentially adverse effects these strategies have on productivity, creativity,
Fowler 5
innovation, sustainable performance, and people’s health and well-being. Current
research is only beginning to illuminate the high price paid to drive results by trying
to motivate people using carrots and sticks (e.g., Deci, Koestner, & Ryan, 1999; Ryan
& Deci, 2017).
However, the Motivating Others competency could also be interpreted as taking
people’s needs into account by empowering them, inviting and sharing ownership and
visibility, and making individuals feel their work is important. Maslow is often cited
as the inspiration for competencies that tend to people’s needs (Kremer & Hammond,
2013). While Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was an important contribution to the dis-
cussion of psychological needs, unfortunately, little to no empirical evidence exists to
prove a hierarchy of motivational needs (Ryan & Deci, 2017). Regardless of whether
a hierarchy exists, current motivation science has granted us a new way to understand
psychological needs, and offers a promising alternative.
When it comes to building leadership competencies and requisite skills, not taking
the breakthroughs in understanding human motivation into consideration can hurt—
figuratively, by constraining proactive behavior, limiting productivity, stifling perfor-
mance, diminishing creativity, inhibiting innovation, sabotaging results; and literally,
by generating ill-being and mental and physical health issues in the workplace.
Recent motivation research makes a compelling case for alternatives to leadership
competencies that drive for results and promote pushing oneself or others to get those
results. A major strength of SDT is that it provides an empirically supported (Gagne &
Deci, 2005; Gagne, 2014; Murayama et al., 2013) and field-tested framework for
motivation (Fowler, 2014) that can be applied within the one-to-one context to pro-
mote high-quality motivation while producing desired organizational outcomes.
Advancing Leadership Development Based on SDT
This article proposes a two-step approach to guide HRD professionals for introducing
new leadership competencies in the one-to-one context based on SDT. Specifically,
they are as follows:
1. Familiarize leaders on the compelling empirical research and business implica-
tions of SDT.
2. Introduce three new motivation competencies to integrate SDT and the leader-
ship behaviors required to achieve organizational results and promote employee
flourishing.
Familiarize Leaders on SDT
SDT has found its way into mainstream literature over recent years (Fowler, 2014;
Pink, 2011), yet has yet to influence the leadership competencies used to develop lead-
ers or circumvent the integration of traditional theories such as Operant Conditioning,
Achievement Motivation, or Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Adapting leadership com-
petencies based on SDT requires HR professionals and organizational leaders to
6 Advances in Developing Human Resources 00(0)
understand SDT and appreciate its implications on organizational leadership—espe-
cially in the one-to-one context.
For example, SDT poses that the focus on motivation should shift from the quantity
of motivation a person has for a goal to the quality of their motivation. Some motiva-
tion is low-quality and suboptimal. Some motivation is high-quality and optimal. SDT
provides a solid body of empirical evidence demonstrating the implications for empha-
sizing the quality of a person’s motivation (e.g., Deci et al., 1999; Ryan & Deci, 2017).
Low-quality motivation thwarts optimal functioning resulting in short-term, sporadic
performance that does not support well-being. High-quality motivation promotes opti-
mal functioning that leads to productive performance and individual long-term health
and flourishing. If leaders understand that their job is to help people experience high-
quality motivation, they might be less likely to depend on external rewards to stimu-
late action and more likely to focus on helping people experience a sense of autonomy
and meaning related to the goal.
Leaders need to be educated on how to nurture people’s optimal motivation through
their satisfaction of three basic psychological needs for autonomy, relatedness, and
competence (ARC; Deci & Ryan, 2000, 2002). These psychological needs are founda-
tional for all human beings to thrive and flourish, are empirically validated, universal,
and, when satisfied, result in high-quality motivation (e.g., Ryan & Deci, 2017).
Understanding people’s psychological needs for ARC and the implications associated
with supporting or thwarting these needs provide the key for reshaping leadership
competencies. Leaders can help people satisfy people’s psychological needs through
their behaviors, but they can also erode them (Bartholomew, Ntoumanis, Ryan, Bosch
& Thøgersen-Ntoumani, 2011).
Autonomy is a person’s need to perceive that they have choices, that what they are
doing is of their own volition, and that they are the source of their own actions (Deci
& Ryan, 2002). Leaders erode a person’s sense of autonomy by using controlling lan-
guage, imposing goals and metrics, depending on rewards and incentives to manipu-
late behavior, micromanaging, and applying pressure (Hardré & Reeve, 2009).
Relatedness is a person’s need to care about and be cared about by others, to feel
connected to others without concerns about ulterior motives, and to feel that they are
contributing to something greater than themselves (Deci & Ryan, 2002). Leaders
erode a person’s sense of relatedness by failing to provide rationale for work, promot-
ing metrics without meaning, ignoring feelings, and generating isolation through lack
of justice and transparency (Fowler, 2014).
Competence is a person’s need to feel effective at meeting everyday challenges and
opportunities, demonstrating skill over time, and feeling a sense of growth and flour-
ishing (Deci & Ryan, 2002). Leaders erode a person’s sense of competence by focus-
ing on performance outcomes at the expense of learning outcomes, punishing mistakes,
and failing to provide appropriate direction and support (Gunnell, Crocker, Wilson,
Mack, & Zumbo, 2013).
Fowler 7
Introduce Three New Motivation Competencies
The good news is that HRD professionals can support employees’ psychological needs
for ARC by teaching leaders in the one-to-one context a specific set of skills (Hardré &
Reeve, 2009) and ways to adapt traditional behaviors, such as goal setting, to be more
ARC supportive (Fowler, 2014). This article recommends leadership competencies that
support people’s psychological needs with the intention of nurturing a workplace envi-
ronment where people are more likely to shift their motivational outlook from subopti-
mal motivation to optimal motivation and experience high-quality motivation.
Three competencies that integrate SDT are proposed to HRD professionals to help
leaders achieve organizational results while fueling employee work passion and the
inherent benefits that come from actively engaged individuals at work (Shuck, Roberts,
& Zigarmi, 2018; Thibault-Landry, Egan, Crevier-Braud, Manganelli & Forest, 2018).
They are (a) Encourage Autonomy, (b) Deepen Relatedness, and (c) Build Competence.
HRD professionals should consider these motivation competencies as founda-
tional—meaning they influence leadership behaviors across contexts and categories of
competencies.
Definition and Requisite Skills to Encourage Autonomy
The competency of encouraging autonomy is defined as the leader’s ability to help
people perceive that they have choices, that what they are doing is of their own voli-
tion, and that they are the source of their own actions (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Instead of
applying pressure, demanding accountability, and incentivizing or manipulating
behavior, this competency includes skills where leaders
1. use noncontrolling language that invites a perception of choice,
2. illuminate boundaries, then explore choices within those boundaries,
3. collaboratively set goals and help reframe goals as relevant, and
4. present goals and timelines as valuable information necessary for achieving
agreed-upon outcomes.
Autonomy does not equate to freedom. Autonomy is a person’s perception of choice
and sense of control or volition, regardless of whether they have the freedom to act—it
is their internalization of their circumstances that determines their experience of
autonomy. Many roles demand strict adherence to rules, regulations, and process. The
way those limits are communicated can facilitate the employee’s internal frame of
reference toward or away from perceived autonomy.
Example 1
Avoid establishing boundaries in a way that erodes autonomy, such as “When
selling our pharmaceutical product, you must adhere to strict FDA guidelines
including (state guidelines). If you go outside the bounds of these guidelines,
you face immediate termination.”
8 Advances in Developing Human Resources 00(0)
Instead, illuminate boundaries and explore choices within those boundaries:
“When selling this product, there are strict FDA guidelines including (state
guidelines). You need to stay within these boundaries to protect your client,
yourself, our company, and most importantly, the patient who is prescribed the
drug. Within these limits, however, you still have the freedom to make choices
and decisions that will affect your client relationships, the quality of your pro-
posals, and the effectiveness of your efforts. Let’s talk about the choices you
have that might influence how you approach selling this product.”
Encouraging autonomy requires communicating workplace requirements and per-
formance feedback as data or information which the employee needs to be successful,
without generating feelings of being controlled by pressure, fear, guilt, shame, power,
status, or tangible and intangible external rewards.
Example 2
Avoid communicating deadlines in a way that erodes autonomy: “You must
submit the team’s report no later than July 20.”
Instead, communicate a deadline as a valuable information that encourages
autonomy: “Our project needs to be completed by July 20, so the CFO has time
to review it prior to the Board meeting on August 15. This spreadsheet proposes
a project timeline, so each team member understands their role and can sched-
ule their contributions appropriately. I propose that Joe have data compiled by
April 1; that Sally’s analysis be completed by May 15; and that I have conclu-
sions completed by June 15. This schedule gives you between June 15 and July
20 to generate the report, so the CFO has time to present it at the Board meeting
on August 15. Do you foresee any steps I haven’t included in this proposal? Are
there challenges I haven’t considered, that might influence this timeline or your
ability to complete the report by July 20?”
Definition and Requisite Skills to Deepen Relatedness
The competency to deepen relatedness is defined as the leader’s ability to help people
to care about and feel cared about by others, to feel connected to others without con-
cerns about ulterior motives, and to feel that they are contributing to something greater
than themselves (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Instead of leadership models that tend to focus
on metrics without an effort to help people derive meaning, drive for results without
awareness of people’s personal concerns, or push outcomes without regard for inter-
personal relationships, this competency includes skills where leaders
1. demonstrate empathy and caring through listening, acknowledging, and
accepting expressions of negative affect;
2. offer pure and informational feedback rather than personal or evaluative
praising;
Fowler 9
3. provide rationale, share information about yourself and the organization, and
discuss your intentions openly;
4. help individuals align work and tasks with their own developed values and
work-related purpose; and
5. frame actions in terms of the welfare of the whole and focus on contributions
to the greater good.
Deepening relatedness requires deep listening combined with acceptance that the
negative affect and sentiments expressed by an employee are potentially valid reac-
tions to a difficult or unappealing situation.
Example 1
Avoid downplaying or diminishing emotions: “You shouldn’t feel that way.
Everyone has failed at one time or another. You just need to work harder next
time.”
Instead, provide an opportunity for the individual to acknowledge emotions: “It
seems you might be wrestling with this right now. If that’s true, I hope you feel
comfortable using me as a sounding board. Talking through what happened and
what you’re experiencing might enable you to make sense of it or even come to
peace with it.”
Deepening relatedness also requires a high degree of self-regulation by the leader
to stay focused on the employee’s needs for expression rather than their own—includ-
ing the leader’s need to praise someone. Praising often says more about the leader’s
need than the need of the receiver.
Example 2
Avoid giving personal and evaluative feedback that erodes relatedness which
may result in momentary good feelings for the person receiving your positive
opinion, but also increases the risk of the receiver being dependent on external
positive evaluation rather than their own internal state of being: “You made me
happy when . . . ; I was so glad that you . . . ; I’m so proud of you.”
Instead, provide pure and informational feedback that deepens relatedness:
“One of your goals for this project was to break down silos within the company
and gain participation from a variety of departments. I noticed that you received
endorsements from three departments on the report you generated. How do you
feel about your effort and the outcome?”
Definition and Requisite Skills to Build Competence
The competency of building competence is defined as the leader’s ability to help peo-
ple feel effective at meeting everyday challenges and opportunities, help people dem-
onstrate skill over time, and help people appreciate their growth and learning (Deci &
10 Advances in Developing Human Resources 00(0)
Ryan, 2000). Instead of discounting training, punishing mistakes, and focusing on
results over effort, this competency includes skills where leaders
1. emphasize learning goals, not just performance goals,
2. ask, “What did you learn today?” Recognize mistakes as opportunities to learn
and grow,
3. provide training and appropriate leadership style for the person’s level of
development,
4. facilitate problem solving by asking questions to explore options and alterna-
tive strategies, and
5. establish norms for individuals requesting feedback instead of having them
wait to receive the feedback they need to learn and grow.
Building a person’s sense of competence requires the leader to understand that in the
beginning, everyone is a learner with needs for the high direction that provides structure,
guidance, and specific how-to’s. But, as an employee’s experience, competence, and
commitment develop over time, a leader must exercise flexibility to provide the appro-
priate amount of direction and support—while still encouraging growth and learning.
Example 1
Avoid giving empty feedback that doesn’t build a person’s competence: “I’m
happy to see that you met your goal in time.”
Instead, highlight progress that builds their competence: “I appreciate the
update on your progress. Let’s discuss what you might have done differently in
hindsight, what you did that worked, and what you learned that will help you on
similar goals in the future.”
Micromanaging means providing too much direction to someone who has demon-
strated competence. If someone has competence, but their performance is suffering
due to lost commitment, overdirection further erodes their commitment and perfor-
mance. However, failing to provide enough direction to someone with low compe-
tence erodes their sense of competence—retarding their performance even further.
Example 2
Avoid micromanaging someone who has demonstrated competence in the past:
“It appears that the beta test failed to meet the required standards. I’ve outlined
what you need to do differently. You’ve got one more try or we risk losing our
funding.”
Instead, with someone who has demonstrated competence in the past, provide
an opportunity to problem solve in a way that builds competence: “Given the
results of the beta test and the demanding timelines to meet standard require-
ments, let’s explore your options for the next beta test, and discuss what you
need and how I can help you get where you need to go.”
Fowler 11
General Questions to Support ARC
Leaders are used to asking about progress on a goal, but can support people’s ARC by
asking goal-related or general questions to stimulate a person’s experience of ARC.
For example, asking people about their daily or weekly choices reminds them they
have choices—and encourages autonomy. Asking questions to explore values in use or
meaning derived through their work helps deepen relatedness. Asking questions about
what has been learned builds competence. Regardless of the goal or situation, leaders
can ask questions on a regular basis, in almost any circumstance, to support people’s
ARC.
Autonomy. Remind people that they are making choices every day.
You may feel that this task, goal, or situation was imposed on you. In the face
of strong external pressure, rules, or control, what options can you identify that
might help relieve the pressure and provide you with some sense of control over
the situation?
Are you feeling pressured when you think about the task, goal, or situation?
Where is the pressure coming from? Why do you think that is?
How do you feel about the choices you made this week? What choices did you
make that you wish you had not? Why? What choices did you make that you are
glad you did? Why?
Relatedness. Heighten people’s awareness of meaning and contribution.
As you think about this goal, how does it align with your values or work-related
purpose?
What happened this week that reminds you of the contribution you make to oth-
ers through your work?
What did you find meaningful in your work this week?
Competence. Remind people of their inherent joy for learning and build competence
by asking more than “What did you achieve today?”
As you think of your week, what did you learn that might help you in the future?
How might your learning from this situation be helpful to someone else?
What new skills will you develop as you pursue this goal?
Questions that facilitate people’s internal frame of ARC encourage self-regulation
by promoting mindfulness, a nonjudgmental state of awareness that enables one to
recognize options and alternatives (Brown, Creswell, & Ryan, 2015). The health ben-
efits of mindfulness are widely accepted (Langer, 1989), but neuroscience also shows
a significant correlation between mindfulness and creativity, empathy with others, and
a direct experience of ARC (e.g., Brown & Ryan, 2003).
12 Advances in Developing Human Resources 00(0)
Acting on a New Paradigm May Require Exploring Old
Beliefs
Supporting people’s psychological needs directly impacts how leaders approach
employee development and performance, but it is also a key strategic advantage. A
quick search of the top issues keeping executives awake at night include innovation to
stay ahead of forced disruption and competition, optimizing employee productivity,
employee engagement, virtual management, team member excellence, and workload
and life balance (e.g., Moritz, 2017; “19th Annual Global CEO Survey,” 2016). These
issues require an optimally motivated workforce. But, leaders operating on outdated
beliefs about motivation may continue to depend on outdated approaches that are inef-
fective at mobilizing that workforce.
Educating leaders on the empirical evidence and proven benefits of SDT is a good
first step. But, leaders may be reluctant to trade in their carrots and sticks if they do not
have the skills to replace them. Teaching leaders the skills necessary to encourage
autonomy, deepen relatedness, and build competence through their one-to-one leader-
ship is essential.
However, some leaders may need more than education and training to shift from
“What can I do to motivate people?” or “What can I give people to motivate them?”
to a new set of motivation competencies based on “How do I facilitate people’s sat-
isfaction of autonomy, relatedness, and competence?” Leaders may find it difficult
to accept that the way they drive for results can have a deleterious effect on getting
results.
Perhaps the most daunting, yet rewarding role an HRD professional can undertake
is guiding leaders through an investigation of deeply embedded beliefs and pro-
grammed values such as, “It’s not personal, it’s just business,” or “The purpose of an
organization is to make a profit.” Championing new foundational motivation compe-
tencies may require helping leaders explore outdated beliefs that perpetuate ineffective
leadership practices and prevent full acceptance of a new and different approach to
developing people and generating results.
Reframing leadership competencies based on encouraging autonomy, deepening
relatedness, and building competence means helping leaders shift their focus from
what they want from people to what they want for people. Focusing on what leaders
want for people means creating a workplace environment based on foundational ARC-
supportive competencies where people produce results and sustain high performance
because they are flourishing and experiencing high-quality optimal motivation.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article.
Funding
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of
this article.
Fowler 13
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Fowler 15
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Author Biography
Susan Fowler is the author of six books, including the bestseller Why Motivating People
Doesn’t Work . . . and What Does and coauthor of the newly revised bestseller Self Leadership
and the One Minute Manager with Ken Blanchard and Laurence Hawkins. She is a professor in
the Master of Science in Executive Leadership Program at the University of San Diego and a
senior consulting partner for The Ken Blanchard Companies.
... In dit artikel beschrijven we de resultaten van een dissertatieonderzoek naar de effecten van leiderschap, ondernemingsdoelen en waarden vanuit het perspectief van motivatie als onderliggend psychologisch mechanisme met behulp van de zelfdeterminatietheorie. Dit perspectief op motivatie is belangrijk voor de psychologie van arbeid en organisatie, omdat het de focus verlegt van de centraliteit van economische en arbeidsprestaties naar het ondersteunen van hoogwaardige en duurzame motivatie (Fowler, 2018;Rigby & Ryan, 2018). We hopen daarmee bij te dragen aan inzichten die duurzame inzetbaarheid, plezier in het werk en betekenisgeving kunnen bevorderen. ...
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Motivation lies at the core of human behavior. It explains why we do what we do. In this article, we seek an explanation for the influence of leadership, purpose, and values on employee engagement through motivation. Engaged employees derive energy from their work, are dedicated, show higher psychological well-being, and perform better. We suspected that motivation, as defined in self-determination theory, is an underlying mechanism that could explain the relationship between leadership and positive outcomes. To this end, we conducted five empirical studies in which the fulfillment of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and connectedness played a central role. We found that engaging leadership, a higher corporate purpose, and intrinsic values stimulated motivation and engagement. The fulfilment of psychological needs (notably autonomy) played an important role in these relationships. A sixth study tested leadership and inspiration in an intervention study. The intervention led to higher motivation among participants, lower absenteeism among employees, and better business performance. Navigating motivation at work supports employees to flourish, develop, and find significance. Keywords: engaging leadership, purpose, values, motivation, engagement
... These results expand previous studies finding that basic psychological needs mediate the relations between transformational leadership (Bass, 1985) and work engagement (e.g., Kovjanic et al.,2012;Hetland et al., 2015) and between EL (Schaufeli, 2015) and work engagement (Rahmadani et al., 2019). Moreover, the central role of the need for autonomy, linking leadership, and work engagement in the current study, adds to the discussion on the modernization of requisite leadership competencies in traditional HRD approaches that tend to be more leader-centric rather than focused on employee needs (Fowler, 2018). ...
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Should leaders pay more attention to values? The present study aims to examine and explain the associations of engaging leadership (EL) with employees' perceptions of the organization's values, need fulfillment, and employee engagement. EL is a recent leadership concept drawing on self‐determination theory, specifically on the fulfillment of the basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. We expected EL to associate with employees perceiving the values of their organization as more intrinsic (e.g., care for others, contributing to making the world a better place, stimulating personal growth), which would satisfy employees' basic psychological needs and fuel work engagement, rather than as extrinsic (financial success, power, status). Study 1 detailed the model using a cross‐sectional study design (N = 436), and, as expected, structural equation modeling identified a positive path from leadership to work engagement via perceived intrinsic organizational values and subsequent satisfaction of the need for autonomy. EL associated negatively with extrinsic organizational values. Study 2 corroborated outcomes of study 1 through a longitudinal study across three time‐points (N = 69) in a cross‐lagged panel model and found specific directionality from leadership to perceived intrinsic values. Implications for leadership and motivation are discussed.
... For example, assessing managerial orientation of leaders across the organisations could identify those leaders who tend to rely on controlling managerial approaches and would benefit most from the leadership development intervention. Recent recommendations have also been made to introduce leadership competencies grounded in Self-Determination Theory into organisational competency frameworks and leadership development practices (Fowler, 2018) Up until now, human resources professionals and organisational managers have had little empirical guidance on what effective volunteer leadership looks like or what leaders can say or do to retain volunteers. From this research it can be concluded that autonomy support is an important leadership capability for promoting ongoing participation in volunteering and, through structured training, organisations can successfully develop these skills in people who lead volunteers. ...
Thesis
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Background: Increasingly high turnover rates in volunteer organisations have reached critical levels. Australian volunteer emergency service organisations are struggling to maintain adequate volunteer numbers to continue to deliver vital services to the community. The experience volunteers have with their leader is one of the strongest predictors of future volunteering. Despite industry, government and academics calling for increased focus on the training and development of volunteer leaders, there is currently limited theoretical and/or empirical guidance to support this endeavour. Little is known about what leadership approaches are effective or suitable with volunteers. Furthermore, it is unknown how volunteers’ experiences with their leader comes to influence their decision to stay with or leave the organisation. This thesis seeks to address these issues and formulates an evidence-based approach for improving leadership to help retain volunteer workers in Australian emergency service organisations. Aim: The aim of this thesis is to examine the application of managerial autonomy support, an interpersonal style proposed by Self Determination Theory (SDT), as an approach to volunteer leadership, focusing on its potential to retain volunteers. In order to achieve this, the thesis addresses three objectives. First, the hypothesized conceptual model that delineates the relations between perceived managerial autonomy support, followers’ basic psychological need satisfaction, job satisfaction and turnover intention is tested in the volunteer organisations. The second objective is to determine whether, through an SDT-based leadership development intervention, leaders can change and/or develop their managerial orientation towards autonomy support. The final objective is to ascertain whether followers of these leaders perceive changes in their socio-contextual climate during the intervention period. Method: A total sample of 363 participants was obtained for this study, comprising 167 leaders and 196 followers across four volunteer emergency service organisations in Australia. A quasi-experimental design tested the impact of an SDT-based leadership intervention on leaders (n=65) and their followers, compared to a control group of leaders (n=102) who received no training. Leaders’ self-reported managerial orientation was assessed at pre-test, post-test and one year after the intervention. Followers’ perceived managerial autonomy support from the leader, basic psychological needs satisfaction, job satisfaction and turnover intention were measured before and after their leader completed the intervention. Results: A test of the hypothesised model via structural equation modelling indicate that emergency service workers’ perceptions of leaders’ managerial orientation influenced their job satisfaction and subsequent turnover intention through basic psychological needs satisfaction. Testing the impact of the SDT leadership development intervention, leaders in the experimental condition changed their interpersonal orientation towards autonomy support after completing the intervention and these reflected enduring changes that remained evident one year later. The intervention was most effective for leaders with relatively little prior experience leading volunteers, who showed greater propensity for developing their managerial orientation. Followers did not report any significant changes in the provision of autonomy support from their leader, basic psychological need satisfaction, job satisfaction or turnover intention over the nine weeks their leader was participating in the SDT-based leadership development intervention. Contribution/Implications: This thesis provides one of the most in-depth empirical explorations to date, of the malleability of managerial autonomy support amongst organisational leaders. A contribution is made to the scholarly study of volunteer leadership more broadly, by offering a validated theoretical model of leadership and its influence on followers in the volunteer context. This research provides support for Self-Determination Theory in the volunteer organisations.
... Також у науковій літературі приділяють достатньо уваги розкриттю можливостей підвищення ефективності мотивування як основного чинника ефективності управлінської праці (Urmanov & Kasimova, 2017), доцільності імплементації у вітчизняну економічну систему кращих здобутків зарубіжного досвіду (Zaiarna & Shevchuk, 2011), новим підходам до мотивації персоналу в стратегічному управлінні (Kovalska, 2010), вагомості нематеріальних чинників мотивації праці у формуванні людського капіталу (Tuzhylkina, 2010). Серед зарубіжних досліджень найбільш дотичними до обраної проблематики є розгляд соціального управління через призму використання соціальних методів мотивації в інноваційному суспільстві (Yuan, 2017), експериментальне дослідження навичок мотиваційного управління (Lyons et al., 2017), вивчення біопсихологічних підходів до мотивації, які спонукають персонал прагнути до нових цілей (Heckhausen & Heckhausen, 2018), компетенційне переосмислення розвитку лідерства з позицій мотиваційних очікувань (Fowler, 2018 оретичних рекомендацій ускладнюється через відсутність дієвих механізмів їх практичного втілення. Тому дослідження інноваційних механізмів мотивування персоналу ритейлу є надзвичайно актуальним питанням та зумовлює потреба розроблення адекватних інструментів впливу на персонал. ...
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Досліджено перспективи впровадження нових інструментів матеріальної та персоніфікованої нематеріальної мотивації для зростання капіталізації торговельного підприємства. Запропонована методика інтегрованого застосування матеріальних і нематеріальних інструментів мотиваційного впливу на працівника якісно оновлює розуміння всіх елементів мотиваційної програми торговельної організації. Розрахунок конкретних показників матеріальної складової мотивації запропоновано узгодити зі стратегічними цілями капіталізації підприємства. Основна новація полягає в інтегруванні показників якості людського капіталу зі синтетичними показниками економічної спрямованості. Врахування критичних факторів успішності забезпечує динамічний взаємозв'язок цілей бізнесу і мотиваційних очікувань персоналу. Показано, що система матеріальної мотивації має ґрунтуватись на індикативному оцінюванні ефективності досягнення результатів кожним працівником на всіх рівнях організації. Запропонована методика визначення граничних розмірів матеріального стимулювання передбачає уніфіковане ранжування посад відповідно до їх функціональної значущості і реального внеску працівника у зростання капіталізації. Водночас ця методика поєднує в собі врахування особистісних мотиваційних очікувань персоналу і персоніфікацію їх відповідальності за капіталізацію організації.
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One of India's biggest challenges is to improve its global standing by increasing healthcare access and outcomes for children with cancer, with inferior overall survivorship compared with its Western counterparts. In conjunction with the government's efforts, private enterprise is crucial in delivering optimal cancer care consistently to its vast and diverse pediatric population, despite existing limitations. This article describes the successful implementation of a value-based, collaborative clinical and research framework by a philanthropic foundation in a rural Northern Indian city to establish and run a local childhood cancer service. It is proof of concept that substantial change could be brought about at grass roots level through resourceful partnerships and reduce prevailing imbalance in pediatric oncology service provision.
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Book
In the Handbook of Human Resource Development, Neal Chalofsky, Tonette Rocco, and Michael Lane Morris have compiled a collection of chapters sponsored by the Academy of Human Resource Development to address the fundamental concepts and issues that HR professionals face daily. The chapters are written and supported by professionals who offer a wide range of experience and who represent the industry from varying international and demographic perspectives. Topics addressed form a comprehensive view of the HRD field and answer a number of key questions. Nationally and internationally, how does HRD stand with regard to academic study and research? What is its place in the professional world? What are the philosophies, values, and critical perspectives driving HRD forward? What theories, research initiatives, and other ideas are required to understand HRD and function successfully within this field? As the industry grows, what are the challenges and important issues that professionals expect to face? What hot topics are occupying these professionals now? The Handbook's insight and guidelines allows students and HR professionals to build a fundamental understanding of HRD as an industry, as a field of research, and for future professional success.
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Recent studies have documented that self-determined choice does indeed enhance performance. However, the precise neural mechanisms underlying this effect are not well understood. We examined the neural correlates of the facilitative effects of self-determined choice using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Participants played a game-like task involving a stopwatch with either a stopwatch they selected (self-determined-choice condition) or one they were assigned without choice (forced-choice condition). Our results showed that self-determined choice enhanced performance on the stopwatch task, despite the fact that the choices were clearly irrelevant to task difficulty. Neuroimaging results showed that failure feedback, compared with success feedback, elicited a drop in the vmPFC activation in the forced-choice condition, but not in the self-determined-choice condition, indicating that negative reward value associated with the failure feedback vanished in the self-determined-choice condition. Moreover, the vmPFC resilience to failure in the self-determined-choice condition was significantly correlated with the increased performance. Striatal responses to failure and success feedback were not modulated by the choice condition, indicating the dissociation between the vmPFC and striatal activation pattern. These findings suggest that the vmPFC plays a unique and critical role in the facilitative effects of self-determined choice on performance.