Motivation and Maslow

Hang on …I’m never throwing out Maslow.

I blog, becaaaaaaause I’m happyyy! And I blog, because I’m freeeee! Sister Act 2 anyone? No…!?

Theory like any reference or metaphors requires precise application. For example Prochaska and DiClementes Cycle of Change model, if you know it, share with someone to whom it can make a difference. Apply it somewhere  it can help people or someone become unstuck.

Here’s what happens when we deliver workshops on working with groups and train-the-trainer:

“Have you seen this theory of Maslow before”

Most people nod.

“What’s it a theory of?”

Most people don’t answer – the word ‘motivation’ is clearly visible.

“How does it make sense to you in leading groups and adult learning…”

And so it continues, and so many times I’m hearing or reading feedback about how “I’ve heard Maslow thrown in so many times but it never made sense before” or “that’s really shifted my thinking to be more people focused” about viewing the behaviour of others as need deficit rather than an unwanted negative trait.

Sukhs right in his encouragement that we keep reading new research and models. Deci’s self-determination theory (another oldie) is still relevant, and whilst the original isn’t current, there are studies grown from it that are. I’m still in the self-assessment for and of learning to enhance motivation and self-efficacy, and when that happens, stuff happens, differently.

And, I referenced Maslow, well (she said), in recent academic assessment.

Maslow is an easy and helpful model to switch from behaviourism to humanist thinking about others. A valuable and essential approach for leading in learning.

Are we really still following the loud and shiny voice that is Pink (also recently referenced), and not noticing that he’s taking psychology back to behaviourism. Yes in 2015! His progressive people focussed good stuff is marred with this. I’m not prepared to treat the people I work and learn with like robotic thinkers who can’t pause and make a different decision based on better thinking. When we know so much about the role of emotion and how we think, and how much potential we have. In fact, I’m determined to create environments that allow space and time to think. You deserve that from me as an L+Der.

No it’s not the only theory, and it certainly can be misused/overused and misunderstood. But we need to start somewhere, and so many times I’ve seen it start with Maslow.

It links to the functional model of behaviour repetition (and thus addiction) that suggests people take part in risk/harmful activities because the good bits fulfill functions: needs. Individually prioritised needs. Their motivation is needs based, not because they’re unable to think better, differently, or do something else instead. Behavioural economics assumes humans will just react, not thinking, and I’m not prepared to champion that.
If you want more reading or have more reading, get in touch and lets share.

And now read this from Simon Heath.

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