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Tool: Preparing to work with beginning teachers: What are my motives, and theirs?

Purpose of this tool: Use this tool as a self-test. Motivation is a complicated matter—and a critical dimension in working with people. Obviously you want to get off to a good start with the beginning members of your faculty.

How to use this tool: Complete the three parts of this tool. After you have responded, be aware of your interactions with a select group of professionals in your building for a week to observe motives in operation. Make sure you include the beginning teachers in the building.

What are your motives in work-related behavior?  Prioritize the following with 1 being the highest. Think of at least two examples that are illustrative of your highest rated area..

Motivation Examples
___ Affiliation (belonging, acceptance, social interaction)  
___ Power (control, authority, influence)  
___ Achievement (accomplish, success in competition)  

Now ask yourself, does the person I’m working with have similar motives? If so, how do they mesh or conflict? Study yourself and your interactions with a select group of professionals in your building for a week to observe motives in operation. The following questions can be used to trigger your thinking:

  • Do I see individuals as reservoirs of energy?
  • Do the strengths of motives differ with individuals? (A strong motive is a value or energy outlet).
  • Does the actual flow of energy depend on the situation in which the professional finds herself or himself?
  • Does the activation of affiliation, power or achievement lead to a different pattern of behavior?

Then ask yourself, what else do I believe about motivation?

  • Do I believe most people dislike work and related responsibility and therefore have to be controlled directed, or threatened?  What evidence do I have?
  • Do I believe most people find work to be natural and will control themselves and seek responsibility in the pursuit of worthy goals?  What evidence do I have?

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Adapted from Atkinson, J.W., & McClelland, D.C. (1968). Motivation and behavior. In Litwin, G.H., & Stringer, R.A. (Eds.), Motivation and organizational climate. Cambridge, MA: Division of Research, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University, 1968.).