I received an excellent question from a member of my LinkedIn group. She asked:
“How do you encourage mid-career women faculty to develop their technology skills, regardless of academic area?”
My answer is: it depends…
Not all mid-career women faculty have the same reasons for not developing their technology skills and not all are motivated by the same things. Instead of looking at demographics or situations, I look at the person. I step into their world.
The best way to motivate someone is to use what already motivates them.
My favorite approach for this is to use Tony Robbins’ Six Human Needs Theory because it works every single time.
There are six human needs that we all share, but at different levels. Once you understand which needs drive someone’s behavior, you can start speaking their language and advocating for ideas using arguments that will move them to take action.
Think about it for a minute. How do you feel when someone says you should do something and gives you a list of reasons that make sense to them but not to you? You feel judged and misunderstood and are even less likely to do what you are told. Or maybe you just don’t care (congratulations for not letting others control your emotions) and the bottom line remains that the person can’t inspire you to step up and do something new.
To influence people, you need to understand them and talk from their perspective, not yours. Lucky for you, you don’t have to know everything about the person. Discovering which of the following six needs drive their decision making and behaviors will tell you how you can inspire them.
6 Human Needs
1. Certainty/Security: Need for safety, stability, security, comfort, order, predictability and control.
2. Variety/Uncertainty: Need for surprises, differences, challenges, adventure and excitement.
3. Significance: Need to feel important, special, needed, admired, proud, wanted and recognized.
4. Love and connection: Need to feel closeness, intimacy, connection, appreciation, validation from others and a sense of belonging.
5. Growth: Need to learn, evolve, and develop professionally, personally, emotionally and spiritually.
6. Contribution: Need to give to others, provide value, serve and protect.
Pay attention to what people talk about, what they don’t talk about, what they value, what gets them excited, and so on, and soon you will know very clearly which needs drive their behavior.
Here are some examples of what you can say to get someone to become interested in learning new technology skills, based on their needs.
With new technology skills you will have more job security and more job opportunities than others.
Technology makes things more predictable and eliminates human error.
Technology gets increasingly comfortable and makes you feel secure when you familiarize yourself with it. Remember when you got your first smart phone? It was intimidating at first but now you love having it.
Using technology will open a new world for you.
You will be able to do all sorts of interesting things.
It will be fun in ways you can’t even imagine right now.
Going to the training sessions will be a nice break from the daily routine.
It will be a good addition to your resume and could open more doors.
Once you learn it, I know you will be the best at this. People will come to you for help because they will know you are the authority on this.
You will get more recognition from your supervisor.
People will admire you for knowing this technology.
You will act as leader and others will follow your example.
Mastering this skill will once again prove how exceptionally smart you are.
Love and connection
You will get to see friends from other departments in the training.
You could start a study group or a support system for those of you taking this journey together.
This technology will allow you to communicate better with your students and be there for them in new ways.
Everyone is going to love you for wanting to do this!
Your students are going to be so happy and so grateful to you.
It will be great to learn something new.
You’ll learn more than the technology, you’ll learn new ways to apply it and solve problems.
You will grow so much in this process.
You will also learn about yourself, discover abilities you didn’t even know you had and so much more.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is what life is about.
Think how much this will benefit the college and particularly the students!
You will be able to serve at a deeper level.
Once you become a pro you can help others learn too.
You will make people’s lives so much easier.
You will contribute to the college’s improvements in teaching methods and student services.
You see how if you say something contribution-related to someone who is significance-driven you won’t help them find meaning. The mistake people make every day is to try to get someone to see life from their perspective instead of helping the other person expand their own perspective.
So try it. Start listening to people around you and notice what needs drive them. You will know how to speak their language and help them see benefits to stepping up and doing new things.
That being said, if the person has a real aversion to technology because of past negative experiences, limiting beliefs about what he/she can accomplish, fear of the unknown, fear of failure, exaggerated perception of the level of difficulty involved, or anything else causing him/her to be attached to remaining in their comfort zone, the source of resistance will have to be addressed.
If someone in your office is letting obstacles hold them back from stepping up in their job, consider getting a coach to work with them. You’ll be surprised how quickly long-standing issues can disappear. If you would like to speak with me regarding your own goals or situations with other employees on your campus, click here to schedule a complimentary call.
One more thing, if you think you don’t have time to get to know your team members and learn what motivates them, think again. This is one of the most important and valuable thing you can do because it will give you a blueprint to use time and time again. It is a way to influence while being in complete integrity. Helping your employees find meaning in their work will make them perform better, have more loyalty, and increase their job satisfaction.
About the author: Dr. Audrey Reille has empowered thousands of professionals through one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking engagements, online courses, and interviews on international telesummits. Audrey is the go-to coach for leaders in higher education administration. She empowers them to thrive by reducing stress, optimizing strategies, improving professional relationships, and developing a strong and empowered mindset. She holds several coaching certifications including Tony Robbins' Strategic Interventionist 12-month certification program.