7. Solving the Motivation Puzzle

Integral Leadership is an astonishingly effective new way to understand, motivate, and influence people. So far in this manifesto, we have explored the integral framework, the Leadership Rosetta Stone, understanding people, and the gift and curse of interpretation. We will now use our integral lenses to look more closely at motivation.

The term motivation is derived from the Latin word movere, meaning “to move.” Human motivation is broadly defined as the forces acting on or within a person that results in voluntary engagement in specific activities (behavior). Therefore, motivation theory is concerned with understanding why and how human behavior is engaged.

Motivation and motivation theory is one of the most important areas of study in the field of organizational behavior. Yet, despite the enormous amount of research that has been devoted to it over the past 100+ years, there is no single theory of motivation that is universally accepted. Effective leadership is predicated on the ability to motivate people. But as we’ve already seen, most conventional leaders know how to motivate some people (usually people that share their worldview) yet are helpless in the face of trying to motivate different types of people. The promise of Integral Leadership is the rare ability to understand, motivate, and influence people of any type. Why is it that some people, including employees, are more motivated than others? Why are some circumstances highly motivating to some, and not motivating to others? Why are some incentives effective for some workers and fail utterly with others?  Clearly if we are to reach our potential as integral leaders, we must solve this motivation puzzle.

The truth is everyone is motivated… just not toward the same things!

There is no such thing as “motivated employees” or “unmotivated employees.” Everyone is motivated. All human beings are motivated to engage certain behaviors. Clearly many people are not motivated to do the things that their bosses, parents, teachers, or friends want them to do. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t motivated; they just aren’t motivated to do the things they “should” be doing according to whomever it is that thinks they are unmotivated.  Clearly, the key is to figure out what motivates specific people (or groups of people) in specific circumstances (or types of circumstances). In this section, I will provide some helpful historical context by taking you on a quick tour of the last hundred years of motivation theory right up to the present popular views on motivation which are, of course, true yet very partial. We will look at how each of these views of motivation—the biology-based theories, the goals-based theories, and the values-based theories—are all pieces of the puzzle.  Finally, we will see how an integral approach can tie all these disparate pieces together. This new “Integral Motivation Framework” will become a fundamental tool in your integral leader’s toolkit.

Instinctual Motivation Theories (Biology-Based Theories)

These theories were some of the earliest motivation theories proposed; and they still have many enthusiastic proponents today. Clearly the brain, biology, and instincts play an important role in human motivation.  These theories generally posit that the best way to motivate a person is to expose them to naturally (instinctually) motivating stimuli.

Psychologists writing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries believed that human beings were programmed to behave in certain ways, depending upon the behavioral cues to which they were exposed. Sigmund Freud, for example, argued that the most powerful determinants of individual behavior were those of which the individual was not consciously aware. According to instinct theories, people are motivated to behave in certain ways because they are evolutionarily programmed to do so.

Over a hundred years ago, pioneering psychologist William James created a list of human instincts that included such things as attachment, play, shame, anger, fear, shyness, modesty and love. As you would expect, these theories are popular with researchers with a Modern worldview (scientific materialism), especially contemporary evolutionary psychologists who emphasize the influence of genetic evolution on human behavior. Harvard Business School professors Paul Lawrence and Nitin Nohria’s Sociobiological Theory of Motivation, is among the most recent instinctual theories. In their recent book, Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices, they claim that humans possess four fundamental instinctual drives: to acquire, to bond, to learn, and to defend. Its easy for postmodern researchers to dismiss biology based (Upper-Right Quadrant) theories as gross reductionism. However, as integral practitioners already know, motivation is a “four-quadrant affair.” As such, brain and biology (Upper-Right Quadrant) plays an important role in motivation and therefore offers a significant piece of the motivation puzzle.

Two Divergent Schools of Motivation Theory Over time, in an effort to go beyond Biology-Based Theories, many motivation researchers focused on the influence of individuals’ cognitive processes, such as the beliefs they have about external future events, and how those choices might lead to pain or pleasure. Still others examined inherent interest and values as an explanation for motivation. Over time, these major theoretical streams of motivation research were classified into two major schools: the Process Theories of Motivation (which I call Extrinsic / Goals-Based Theories) and the Content Theories of Motivation(which I call Intrinsic / Values-Based Theories).

Extrinsic Motivation Theories (Goals-Based Theories)

The Process Theories of Motivation focus on cognitive decision processes as an explanation of motivation. These theories are concerned with determining how individual behavior is directed, and maintained through specifically willed and self-directed cognitive processes. Process theories of motivation are based on early cognitive theories, which posit that behavior is the result of conscious decision-making processes. Some examples of these theories include: Expectancy Theory, Equity Theory, Goal-Setting Theory, and Reinforcement Theory.

In the 1960’s, Victor Vroom’s Expectancy Theory applied concepts of behavioral research conducted in the 1930s by Kurt Lewin and Edward Tolman directly to employee motivation. Vroom believed that in deciding how much effort to put into a work behavior, individuals are likely to consider several factors. First, their expectancy, meaning the degree to which they believe that putting forth effort will lead to a given level of performance. Second, their instrumentality, or the degree to which they believe that a given level of performance will result in certain extrinsic outcomes or rewards. Third, their valence, which is the extent to which the expected outcomes are attractive or unattractive. Thus, managers should attempt, to the extent possible, to ensure that their employees believe that increased effort will improve performance and that performance will lead to rewards.1

Equity Theory suggests that individuals comparing their efforts and rewards with those of relevant others. The perception of individuals about the fairness (equity) of their rewards relative to others influences their level of motivation. Equity exists when individuals perceive that the ratio of efforts to rewards is the same for them as it is for others to whom they compare themselves. Inequity exists when individuals perceive that the ratio of efforts to rewards is different for them than it is for others. According to the equity theory, individuals are motivated to reduce perceived inequity. Individuals may attempt to reduce inequity in various ways. A person may change his or her level of effort; an employee who feels under-rewarded is likely to work less hard. A person may also try to change his or her rewards, such as by asking for a raise. For managers, equity theory emphasizes the importance of a reward system that is perceived as fair by employees.

Goal-Setting Theory posits that goals are the most important factors affecting employee motivation. This theory—developed primarily by Edwin Locke and Gary Latham—emphasizes the importance of specific and challenging goals in maximizing employee behavior.  Research supports the proposition that goals that are both specific and challenging are more motivational than vague goals or goals that are relatively easy to achieve. Several factors may moderate the relationship between specific and challenging goals and high levels of motivation.

Reinforcement Theory grew out of the work of the behavioral psychologist (and infamous gross reductionist) B.F. Skinner. Reinforcement Theory posits that motivated behavior occurs as a result of reinforcers, which are outcomes resulting from the behavior that makes it more likely the behavior will occur again. This is perhaps the ultimate “Carrot and Stick” theory. Proponents of this theory suggests that it is not necessary to study needs, values, or even cognitive processes to understand motivation. In there view, it is only necessary to examine the consequences of behavior. Behavior that is reinforced is likely to continue, but behavior that is not rewarded or behavior that is punished is not likely to be repeated. Reinforcement theory suggests to managers that they can improve employees’ performance by a process of behavior modification in which they reinforce desired behaviors and punish undesired behaviors. As you no doubt recognize, Extrinsic Motivation Theories such as these are based on the assumption that people are primarily motivated to pursue goals (external rewards) or avoid pain (external punishment).

Like the Biology-based theories, these extrinsic theories do explain, in part, how some people are motivated. Especially, rational thinking, goal-oriented people who are focused on success as measured by external goal achievement and social status that comes with it. (Many salespeople fit this profile.) Yet as you probably already intuit, and as business has begin to discover in recent years, extrinsic motivation is both partial and limited. In fact, recent research has shown that while extrinsic motivation methods can work well for certain types of algorithmic activities illustrated by tedious physical labor tasks such as packing boxes, it can actually significantly reduce motivation for heuristic activities illustrated by work that requires creative solutions which is so common for today’s modern “knowledge workers.”2

Intrinsic Motivation Theories (Values-Based Theories)

Intrinsic Motivation Theories are based on the assumption that people are motivated to engage in a given activity for its own sake because it is interesting and inherently valuable, as opposed to doing the activity to obtain an external goal. In classic motivation theory, these intrinsic / values-based theories are referred to as “Content Theories.”  There are many such theories, including:

  • Maslows Hierarchy of Needs Theory
  • Alderfer’s ERG Theory
  • Hertzberg’s Motivator-Hygiene Theory
  • McClelland’s Learned Needs Theory
  • Cameron and Quinn’s sophisticated Competing Values Framework which is popular in the corporate world 
  • Values and Lifestyles Inventory (VALs) which is used extensively in the field of advertising and marketing
  • Deci and Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory recently popularized by Dan Pink’s bestselling book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
  • And much of the field of Positive Psychology which is primarily concerned with human meaning, enjoyment, and engagement—all of which can serve as excellent intrinsic motivators.

While all of the above theories offer useful insights into intrinsic motivation, I will highlight several of them as being especially helpful in our quest to solve the motivation puzzle.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory suggests that individual needs exist in a hierarchy consisting of physiological needs, security needs, belongingness needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs. Unsatisfied needs motivate behavior; thus, lower-level needs such as the physiological and security needs must be met before upper-level needs such as belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization can be motivational. Applications of the hierarchy of needs to business management and the workplace are obvious. According to the implications of the hierarchy, individuals must have their lower-level needs met by (e.g. safe working conditions, adequate pay, and job security) before they will be motivated by increased job responsibilities, status, and challenging work assignments. Maslow’s theory has influenced management theorists and business writers for decades. Recently entrepreneur Chip Conley updated Maslow’s work in his popular-selling book, Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow. Also, when I introduce the Integral theories in the next section, you will recognize that Clare Graves’ (a contemporary of Maslow) values motivation theory and Don Beck’s Spiral Dynamics (based on Graves) is closely related to Maslow’s needs.

Alderfer’s ERG Theory is an extension of Maslow. Alderfer suggested that needs could be classified into three categories, rather than five. These three types of needs are existence, relatedness, and growth. Existence needs are similar to Maslow’s physiological and safety need categories. Relatedness needs involve interpersonal relationships and are comparable to aspects of Maslow’s belongingness and esteem needs. Growth needs are those related to the attainment of one’s potential and are associated with Maslow’s esteem and self-actualization needs. The ERG theory differs from the hierarchy of needs in that it does not suggest that lower-level needs must be completely satisfied before upper-level needs become motivational. ERG theory also suggests that if an individual is continually unable to meet upper-level needs that the person will regress and lower-level needs become the major determinants of their motivation. As we shall see in the next section, a person’s worldview determines what needs that individual believes are most important to focus on.

Herzberg’s Motivator-Hygiene Theory is also related to Maslow’s, but Herzberg argued that meeting the lower-level needs (what he called hygiene factors) would only prevent them from being dissatisfied and would not actually motivate workers. He reasoned, that workers would only be motivated if higher-level needs (motivators) were met. The implication being that improving pay, benefits, safety, and other job-contextual factors will prevent employees from becoming actively dissatisfied but will not motivate them to exert additional effort toward better performance. To motivate workers, according to the theory, managers must focus on changing the intrinsic nature and content of jobs themselves by “enriching” them to increase employees’ autonomy and their opportunities to take on additional responsibility, gain recognition, and develop their skills and careers.

McClelland’s Learned Needs Theory suggests that individuals learn needs from their culture. Three of the primary needs in this theory are the need for Affiliation (a desire to establish social relationships with others), the need for power (a desire to control one’s environment and influence others), and the need for achievement (a desire to take responsibility, set challenging goals, and obtain performance feedback). The main point of the learned needs theory is that when one of these needs is strong in a person, it has the potential to motivate behavior that leads to its satisfaction. Thus, managers should attempt to develop an understanding of whether and to what degree their employees have one or more of these needs, and the extent to which their jobs can be structured to satisfy them. Again, as we shall see in the next section, McClelland was correctly intuiting the four universal worldviews which underlie all forms of intrinsic motivation.3

Deci and Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory (SDT) is concerned with the motivation behind the choices that people make without any external influence and interference. SDT focuses on the degree to which an individual’s behavior is self-motivated and self-determined.4 SDT is especially important for our purposes, not only because the theory is being widely popularized by Dan Pink’s bestselling book Drive, but also because of their unique contribution of the process they call “internalization.” Internalization refers to the active attempt to transform an extrinsic motive into personally endorsed values and thus integrate behavioral regulations that were originally external. Simply put, internalization can transform an extrinsic motivator into an intrinsic motivator.5 Clearly, this can be useful for integral leaders who want to motivate their followers intrinsically.

Positive Psychology is chiefly concerned with three dominant areas of study: enjoyment, engagement, and meaning—all of which have a bearing on understanding intrinsic motivation. Each of these dimensions warrant some commentary as it relates to human motivation. Clearly, human beings (and other animals) are motivated to pursue pleasure in various forms. Enjoyment is a core dimension of motivation. Since this area is fairly obvious and is well-covered in many of the above-listed theories, I won’t elaborate here. The engagement arm of Positive Psychology describes activities and associate states described as “autotelic” which means “for their own sake.” Activities that are autotelic are pursued not because of an expected secondary outcome (such as achieving a goal), but rather, these activities are pursued because they are inherently valuable independent of any outcome.

The father of the engagement arm of Positive Psychology is pioneering psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, best-known for his Flow Theory. The metaphor of flow is one that many people have used to describe the sense of effortless action they feel in moments that stand out as the best in their lives. Athletes refer to it as “being in the zone,” advanced meditators and mystics extol it as a feeling of bliss, while artists and musicians describe it as “aesthetic rapture.” Athletes, meditators, and artists do different objective things to get into flow, but according to three decades of research with hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life, the subjective experience is nearly identical. And, importantly, the fundamental dynamics of how the state is achieved are the same, regardless of the activity that facilitates it. There are four key dynamics that combine to create flow: 1. Balance between challenges and skills 2. Clear objectives 3. Frequent feedback 4. Focus and concentration (minimal distractions).

Flow tends to occur when a person faces a clear set of goals that require appropriate responses. It is easy to enter flow in games such as chess, tennis, or poker, because they have goals and rules that make it possible for the player to act without questioning what should be done or how. For the duration of the game, the player lives in a self-contained universe where purpose and direction come into clear focus. The same clarity of goals is present if you perform a religious ritual, play a musical piece, weave a rug, write a computer program, rock climb, or perform a difficult procedure such as surgery.

Flow-inducing activities allow a person to focus on goals that are clear and compatible and provide immediate feedback.  Flow happens when a person’s skills are fully engaged in overcoming a challenge that is right on the edge of being manageable. If challenges are too high, one gets frustrated, then worried, and eventually anxious. If challenges are too low relative to skills, one gets relaxed, then bored. If both challenges and skills are low, one feels apathetic. But if challenges are high and the requisite skills to meet those challenges are also high, one becomes fully engaged, deeply involved in the activity which makes flow likely to occur.

Csikszentmihalyi’s work has had a significant influence on my own thinking and career interests. In 2010 I had the rare opportunity to meet him in person. Mihaly (now in his 80’s) and I discussed engagement theory as it relates to integral psychology. Flow (engagement) theory focuses on what integral theory calls “states.” He acknowledged that positive psychology does not emphasize stages as much as developmental and integral psychology does. Nevertheless, skill level (stages) are, in fact, a crucial element of engagement theory because the amount of challenge required to put someone into the state of flow (high engagement) is different based on their level (stage) of skill. People with greater ability need greater challenge and people with less ability need lower challenge in order to strike the appropriate balance so the activity is not subjectively experienced as either too frustrating (challenge to high given skill level) or too boring (challenge too low given skill level).

The third arm of positive psychology—meaning—addresses the other crucial aspect of intrinsic motivation. Meaning is often described in terms of values and purpose. Values are what’s most important (how people evaluate subjective experience) and purpose is the answer behind the question “why?” One of the deepest and most meaningful question a human can ask (and answer), is “What is my purpose?” The most fundamental and applicable aspect of meaning is, of course, values which play a central role in understanding intrinsic motivation. Martin Seligman, one of the co-founders of the field, working with Christopher Peterson, developed the now-famous Values in Action Framework. This values framework evolved into what positive psychologists call “Virtues” which is another term for “universally held human values.”    

Integral Motivation Theories

An integral view of motivation is based on the assumption that all previous motivation theories are accurate for certain people in certain circumstances, but in order to apply them effectively, they must be properly contextualized into a given person’s (or group’s) specific value system, life conditions, and abilities.6

There are a number of examples of motivation theories that are integrally-informed starting with Wilber’s Integral Psychology framework. In Wilber’s seminal text, Integral Psychology, Ken compared, contrasted and most importantly, correlated over one hundred developmental psychologists and created a master template that covers the full range of human consciousness, using each model to fill in any gaps left by the others. Wilber’s framework accounts for all dimensions of psychology, including all four quadrants, as well as stages, states, and types. However, the feature that his framework is perhaps best known for, and one that receives major emphasis in the book, is the structural stages of development along specific lines. Much like Maslow’s rudimentary developmental model (Hierarchy of Needs) we saw earlier, each stage of development (along any of the 100+ developmental lines that have been thoroughly researched) brings with it new capabilities, needs, values, and in turn, motivations.

Don Beck’s Spiral Dynamics is popular with integral practitioners. It is based on Clare Graves’ (1914–1986) Emergent Cyclical Levels of Existence Theory. Gebser’s Structures of Human Consciousness is another popular theory among integralists. Considered an early integral thinker, Jean Gebser (1905–1973) assembled a massive amount of historical evidence from almost every major field of human knowledge, (philosophy, religion, literature, music, visual arts, architecture, natural sciences, physics, etc.) and traced the emergence of the major worldviews throughout history. Although he used different names for each, his descriptions of the Imperial, Traditional, Modern, and Postmodern worldviews closely match today’s researchers’ descriptions (including those found in this manifesto and in our book).

An integral approach to motivation seeks to pull all of these elements together into a coherent framework. To achieve this, we would want to answer the following questions:

  1. How do the multitude of historical motivation theories fit into the puzzle? (Instinctual, Extrinsic, Intrinsic, and Integral Theories)
  2. In what situations and with which people can extrinsic motivation be leveraged?
  3. How to engender intrinsic motivation for people with different levels of ability (implications to engagement/flow) and different meaning making systems (implications of different value systems)?

Solving the Motivation Puzzle

As you no doubt recognize, there are strengths and limits of all the previously discussed theories… even with the integral theories. While the Integral motivation theories offer more explanatory power, are more empirically accurate because they are adequately contextualized (with ability and worldview), they tend to be difficult to apply for everyday practitioners and leaders. We need to solve the motivation puzzle so that leaders who are not PhD Integral theorists can benefit from these insights in everyday application.

I have recently drawn inspiration from science popularizer Dan Pink’s book, Drive: The Truth About What Motivates Us. Although the book is not integrally-informed, and makes the kinds of common mistakes that non-integral thinkers usually make, it goes a long way toward offering a simplified and useful framework for comparing and contrasting extrinsic and intrinsic motivation.7 I do recommend Drive, as a useful summary of the current state of thinking of leading motivation theorists. I will use some of the ideas from the book here as a springboard for a discussion of a more integrally-informed motivation framework. The value of the insights and recommendations in the book can be useful when adequately contextualized using our Integral map.

In Drive, Pink emphasizes the growing trend of knowledge workers. Clearly, in the developed parts of the world, an increasing percentage workers are working with their minds instead of their hands. Also, with the generational influence of Millennials entering the workplace (“Gen Y”), this effect is enhanced. Pink showcases research on intrinsic motivation, especially highlighting Ryan and Deci’s Self-Determination Theory of Motivation to build a compelling case that intrinsic motivation (values based) is, in the vast majority of circumstances, better than extrinsic motivation (goal based) methods. He calls extrinsic motivation methods and people who prefer them “Type X” and intrinsic motivation methods and people who prefer them “Type I”. Pink carries forward Ryan and Deci’s emphasis on “competence” as a key intrinsic motivator but reframes and expands it into his own conception of “Mastery.”

From the perspective of an integral thinker, it is easy to see how Pink’s own Modern-moving-into-Postmodern worldview has colored his interpretations of the research. Workers, like Pink, who are moving from a Modern to a Postmodern worldview do find Mastery highly motivating. However, workers with an Imperial or Traditional worldview do not generally place a high value on mastery. (They do, as Ryan and Deci’s research shows, value competency.)  Further, when Pink addresses the “meaning” aspect of intrinsic motivation, instead of covering both values and purpose, he emphasizes the powerful intrinsic motivation power of purpose. However, he fails to distinguish the major differences for people with different worldviews. While people holding Traditional and Postmodern worldviews do find purpose highly motivating, people with Imperial and Modern worldviews generally do not. Also, for people with a Traditional worldview, purpose is always defined by their faith tradition in some version of “God’s plan.”8 Whereas Postmodern thinkers believe that each person is unique and their purpose is unrelated to Traditional religious ideas.

At this point, you can no doubt see the unmistakable pattern that connects these true yet partial theories. Even as you have been reviewing this survey of motivation theories, as an emerging integral thinker, you are already well on your way to solving our “Rubik’s Cube” of human motivation. As a first step to pulling all the pieces together, let’s put on our integral lenses, and transcend and include Pink’s view of the two major forms of motivation (Extrinsic and Intrinsic).

Extrinsic Motivation

To understand what motivates a person extrinsically, you must first know their worldview which has a significant influence on how they think and feel about the activities concerned. While it is true that for many people and types of work, Extrinsic motivators are limited and can even backfire; however, for some they remain extremely effective. For example, extrinsic motivation in the form of financial rewards and incentives closely linked to specific work performance can be expected to be extremely effective with goal-oriented workers with an Achiever mindset, especially salespeople and financial-services types.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation advocates offer a strong case why intrinsic motivation is better than extrinsic motivation and emphasize the need for automony and intrinsic interest (value) of an activity. First let’s tackle the sticky issue of autonomy, then we will look at what people intrinsically value about activities.

While it is true that all people prefer some degree of choice (as opposed to feeling like a prisoner or slave), it is important to realize that people with different mindsets have very different orientations to autonomy in the workplace. People with a Power-centric mindset generally require very specific and unambiguous direction along with constant and close supervision. As any experienced business owner who has employed “Red” workers will tell you, it is both impractical and ill-advised to give these types of workers very much autonomy. Also, it is essential to remember that Traditional workers actually prefer very clear-cut rules to follow. They thrive under Authoritarian leadership that (like a loving parent) offers firm limits and guidance with rewards for compliance and penalties for failure. Traditional workers are not generally motivated by greater autonomy; rather, they tend to be demotivated when given latitude on how to complete their work. I have seen this countless times. Collaborative leaders (with Pluralistic mindsets) mistakenly lead the way they would prefer to be led by giving their Traditional workers the ability to self-direct their work. This is usually demoralizing to Traditional workers. This mistake almost cost one of my CEO clients their business. Once they realized the error and provided strong Authoritarian leadership (very concrete rules with no autonomy), the company tripled its sales in one year with the same workforce. While it is true that knowledge workers (Achiever and Pluralistic mindsets) are growing as percentage of total types of workers in developed economies, many industries in many places in the world are still firmly rooted in physical labor which is primarily and best done by workers with Power and Traditional mindsets.

Now lets look at this central idea of “doing an activity for its inherent and intrinsic value.” The proponents of intrinsic motivation theory speak to the fact that many people are motivated by “activities they intrinsically value” but offer little detail for understanding how people with different values systems are intrinsically motivated to do different activities. If you read these researchers, you will find that the picture they present of the inherent values that intrinsically motivate people is much like the Rubik’s Cube pictured earlier on this page where the values are simply random with no underlying structure or pattern.

While some values have universal appeal (love, happiness, health), most values are worldview specific.9 As the integral motivation theories have shown so clearly, if you want to motivate someone intrinsically, you must understand what they value specifically.

Multiple Forms of Compensation

In our Integral Leadership Program, we teach organizational leaders a framework that I call “Multiple Forms of Compensation” which accounts for both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. Perhaps the most obvious is financial compensation or the monetary reward for work. This is, of course, an extrinsic motivator and includes all forms of salary, bonuses, and every kind of financial incentive you can think of. The next is what I call emotional compensation. This is well illustrated with the question, “Do I enjoy my work?” Then there is social compensation. “Do I like the people I work with?” Psychological compensation can be summarized with the question, “Am I learning and growing in my career?” And finally, spiritual compensation can be illustrated with the question, “Is there some deeper meaning in the work I do beyond just making a living?”

Leadership Motivation Templates

While the above broad motivation theories some direction for leaders, the Integral Leadership framework provides something even more helpful: specific Leadership Templates for different mindsets (and combinations of mindsets). I will expand on these Leadership Templates in later sections of the manifesto, and especially in the book. Below are examples of Motivation Templates integral leaders can refer to when considering how to motivate a given individual or group

Achiever Mindset

People with this mindset are driven by success, achievement, and status. They are primarily concerned with personal autonomy, getting ahead, being at the top of their game, receiving recognition, living the good life, and most importantly winning. People with an Achiever mindset prefer to follow leaders who are perceived to have the most expertise and ability to achieve goals. They find Strategic Leadership most motivating. (Strategic Leadership is defined as: the person with the most expertise leads via strategic planning and tangible incentives.) People with this mindset will tend to find Collaborative, Authoritarian, and Autocratic styles of leadership unmotivating at best, and demoralizing at worst.


Pluralistic Mindset

People with this mindset are driven by human connection and making a difference. They are primarily concerned with meaningful relationships, cultivating self-awareness and peace of mind, fostering fairness and equality, and promoting human rights. Naturally, they prefer to follow leaders who are perceived as being aware, value consensus, and always treat others as equals. They find Collaborative Leadership most motivating. (Collaborative Leadership is defined as: consensus-based, self-managed teams lead themselves.) People with this mindset will likely find Strategic, Authoritarian, and Autocratic styles of leadership unmotivating at best, and demoralizing at worst.


Traditional Mindset

People with this mindset are driven by certainty, security, and belonging.  They are primarily concerned with stability, fulfilling their duties, complying with authority,  living the one true way, and doing the right thing.  People with a Traditional mindset prefer to follow leaders who are perceived as having positional and/or moral authority. They find  Authoritarian Leadership most motivating. (Authoritarian Leadership is defined as: the person with positional/moral authority leads via hierarchy.) People with this mindset will tend to find Strategic, Collaborative, and Autocratic styles of leadership unmotivating at best, and demoralizing at worst.

Power Mindset

People with this mindset are driven by power, respect, and dominance. They are primarily concerned with being tough, gaining control (or the “upper hand”), breaking free from limits, gratifying desires, and being “top dog”. People with a Power mindset prefer to follow leaders who are perceived to be the strongest, toughest, and most dominant. They find  Autocratic Leadership most motivating. (Autocratic Leadership is defined as: the person with the most power leads using command and control.) People with this mindset find Strategic, Collaborative, and Authoritarian styles of leadership unmotivating at best, demoralizing at worst.


Now that we have solved the motivation puzzle, we are ready to pull all of the previous sections together to positively influence others. Conscious communication is the key, and is the subject of the next section.


[ Continue to : Conscious Communication | Or Return to Table of Contents ]



  1. In the late 1960s, Porter and Lawler published an extension of the Vroom expectancy model, which is known as the Porter-Lawler Expectancy Model or simply the Porter-Lawler Model. Although the basic premise of the Porter-Lawler Model is the same as for Vroom’s model, the Porter-Lawler Model is more complex in a number of ways. It suggests that increased effort does not automatically lead to improved performance because individuals may not possess the necessary abilities needed to achieve high levels of performance, or because they may have an inadequate or vague perception of how to perform necessary tasks. Without an understanding of how to direct effort effectively, individuals may exert considerable effort without a corresponding increase in performance.
  2. This is the basic thesis of Dan Pink’s bestselling book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.
  3. You may recognize that McClelland’s three primary needs (affiliation, achievement, and power) very closely mirror our fundamental worldviews (pluralistic, achiever, and power).
  4. Handbook of Self-Determination Research. Deci, E., & Ryan, R. (Eds.), (2002). University of Rochester Press.
  5. Psychological Needs and the Facilitation of Integrative Processes. Ryan, R. (1995). Journal of Personality, Volume 63.
  6. As the terms are used here “value system” is pointing to what I call worldview, life conditions are also sometimes referred to as circumstances, and abilities is a specific reference to stages of development along specific developmental lines.
  7. The most common mistake seen in theories (and books) that come from non-integral thinkers is assuming a homogeneity that doesn’t exist. As mentioned elsewhere in this manifesto, non-integral authors are subject to their worldview (Traditional, Modern, or Postmodern) and tend to make sweeping generalizations that, while true for people who share their worldview, are less true or untrue for people with different worldviews. Pink describes things that motivate him and other folks with a Modern-moving-into-Postmodern worldview. He doesn’t account for folks with a Traditional or Imperial worldview who aren’t motivated by the same things.
  8. A great example of this is Rick Warren’s bestselling book, Purpose Driven Life, which claims that everyone’s purpose is to glorify Christ.
  9. The universal values (that are not worldview specific) have been thoroughly researched by Positive Psychology pioneers for the past 30 years. Positive psychology refers to these types of values as “universal virtues.”

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