News & Opinion

Guest Post II - Lee J. Colan, Ph.D.

October 02, 2008


Below is the second part in Lee J. Colan's series of guest posts. We'll have two more for you tomorrow.

Below is the second part in Lee J. Colan's series of guest posts. We'll have two more for you tomorrow. To read his first entry, click here. Engaging the Minds and Hearts of Your Team--Part Management guru Peter Drucker advises leaders to, "Accept the fact that we have to treat almost anybody as a volunteer." Employees as volunteers is a useful concept to remind leaders that they must continually engage their people. Only fully engaged employees will give you the discretionary effort required for Passionate Performance. In the era of the volunteer worker, leaders must engage their employees to elicit discretionary effort from them. It may sound like pretty heady and heart-wrenching stuff to fully engage your employees. But there are clear steps you can take to turn a mental meltdown into a mental breakthrough and convert a heart attack into a heart light. The solution to the engagement challenge is found within the minds and hearts of employees where basic human needs are fulfilled. It's a simple but powerful formula: When my needs are fulfilled, I am engaged and I perform at my peak ability. When my needs are met, I'm motivated to help those who meet my needs. When my needs are not met, I'm frustrated, out of control, unfocused, and disconnected--in a word, disengaged. We all have these basic human needs, and they have remained the same amidst the tornado of external change. Times have changed, and our world has certainly changed, but people have not. In many organizations today, these basic needs still go unfulfilled. It's up to you as the leader to fulfill them. What basic needs have you noticed your team requiring? Does your team complain about or request changes to similar needs that are unmet, such as recognition/rewards or compensation needs? How do you address such needs? I would love to hear your feedback and comments. Engaging the Minds and Hearts of Your Team--Part II To meet the basic human needs of your employees, leaders must first see them and acknowledge them. In order to see them, leaders must view their employees as people and not just workers. If you look at your employees as human beings, you can identify these six basic needs--three intellectual and three emotional: Intellectual Needs:
  • Achievement
  • Autonomy
  • Mastery Emotional Needs:
  • Purpose
  • Intimacy
  • Appreciation Achieving Passionate Performance is a two-sided challenge: intellectual and emotional. Successful leaders know they must engage both the minds and hearts of their people by satisfying both their intellectual and emotional needs. When it comes to Passionate Performance, the mind and the heart go hand in hand. Engaged minds build your employees' performance and engaged hearts build their passion. Performance without passion tends to falter during tough times or in the face of challenges that require sacrifice, significant extra effort or unusually creative solutions. On the other hand, passion without performance results in diffused, unfocused efforts. In tomorrow's posts, I will address each of the needs above starting with the intellectual need of Achievement. Until then, please tell me what you are doing to fully engage your team. No right of wrong answers here--this is the art of leadership. Come back tomorrow for more from Lee Colan, or visit his website at
  • We have updated our privacy policy. Click here to read our full policy.