(Transcribed from Video at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfJpRJg2P6hIvx7JAQsRAxQ)
Purpose, autonomy, mastery. Purpose leads to autonomy. Autonomy leads to mastery, which leads to purpose. It’s a virtuous cycle. So what I’m saying is that we have to cease treating workers as children, and we have to treat them as autonomous adults that will do the right thing 80 to 90% of the time. So with the virtuous cycle of purpose leading to autonomy leading to mastery, supervisors need a new paradigm. They need to initiate. They need to influence. And they need to reinforce and not coach.
They should act as influential mentors and encourage the desire of workers to do the right thing, to have a purpose. We as human beings, we wanta make a difference. And I think that the new paradigm should focus on that desire to do the right thing, to have a purpose, to be self-actualized, as Maslow says.
And just to refresh, in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, basically, once food, water is met, then safety and security, then self-esteem; and we do get stuck on self-esteem. There’s a huge industry of self-help books to help us make the leap to behavioral to self-actualization. And Herzberg took Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and applied it to the workforce. He called needs hygiene factors. And believe it or not, money is the need or a hygiene factor. It does not motivate. If you take it away, people are not happy; but it doesn’t motivate.
What motivates is influencing people’s desire in their own self-interest to do what they feel they need to do: the right thing. We’re always listening to our own radio station: what’s in it for me? If you appeal to workers following the platinum rule, what makes them happy, what motivates them, and tie it in to emotion, then people will do what they need to do.
It’s positive influence. For example, if someone isn’t wearing hearing protection and they’re an older worker, you don’t say, “You have “to wear hearing protection.” You say, “How would you like to hear your grandkids “tell you they love you? “If you don’t wear hearing protection, “they won’t be able to, “and you won’t be able to hear it.” That will motivate them.
Barb Semeniuk is a veteran Safety Auditor and Worker Advocate. Her experience and diligence save companies dollars, and make workers safer while on the job.