At the level of neuropsychology, we are creatures who seek: (1) certainty, (2) opportunities to show our competence and influence over our situations, and (3) connections to others that are supportive and fair. These unspoken needs are intrinsically rewarding because they represent the essential forces at work in each of our minds: our conscious Rider mind and our non-conscious Elephant mind (where the energy to do work is located).
Moreover, these unspoken neural needs fit with our expressed needs at the level of how we see our jobs and get along with others at work. Although the Gallup organization doesn’t use the “two-mind” model of information and energy processing to explain engagement, positive answers to their key questions are directly related to that model.
Where employees answered without reservation that:
- They were clear about what their work is – their needs for clarity and certainty were being met – and when they said,
- They had the resources to do it right, and described it as their best work – their needs for certainty and competence were being fulfilled. When they answered that
- They were doing it with friendly co-workers, who were also committed to doing quality work- their needs for collaborative – supportive and fair – connections were being met as well.
- They received regular thanks from a supervisor, who seemed to care about them as individuals and encouraged their development, their needs for positive, supportive connection and fairness were being met and, finally,
- Their supervisors actually listened to what they had to say – their needs to be recognized as competent and influential – were being met.
Although they can be discussed consciously, these questions represent the unspoken, needs of both of our minds. With these reflexive needs fulfilled, employees were deeply certain about their work situation. And because they permitted themselves to trust the people around them, they didn’t have to manage their natural protective wariness – that is, they didn’t have to distance themselves emotionally in the situation. Instead, the energy of their Elephant minds naturally flowed into the work.
These needs are represented by 7 simple questions.
- Do I know what is expected of me at work?
- Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
- At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
- In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
- At work, do my opinions seem to count?
- Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
- Do I have a best friend at work?
Could your staff answer these questions “5 out of 5”? If they can, you have led your team in a way that allows both of their minds to work together and be fully engaged in what they do.