What If You Have A Personality Difference With A Teacher?

Leadership

Nov 01

Are there some people you tend to click with while others just get on your nerves? Do you find it easier to motivate some people while others resist you...

every...step...of...the...way?

You may chalk it up to personality conflicts but there is something much more basic going on. It has to do with something I call Will Drivers.

You see, all of us need 4 things in order to be motivated – autonomy, mastery, purpose, and belonging.

What does it take to get someone to WANT to improve? That’s a question I often get from both teachers and instructional leaders more than any other question. The answer is pretty simple. You have to tap into THEIR will drivers.

​Note: Want to learn more about will drivers and how they can help you motivate your teachers? Check out ​our Pocket PD: Will Driver Bundle which explains each of the four will drivers and how you can use them to better understand and motivate your teachers.


There are four major will drivers and we all need all four in order to become and stay motivated:

  • Autonomy: The need to feel a sense of agency and choice in the things that matter to you.
  • Mastery: The need to feel a sense of competence at what matters to you.
  • Purpose: The need to feel a sense of meaning and that what you are doing actually matters.
  • Belonging: The need to feel a sense of connection and that you matter to other people.

Even though we all need all four will drivers, I’ve discovered over the years that each of us has a dominant will driver. And, if you tap into a person’s dominant will driver, you can get that person unstuck and moving in the right direction.

So, the key to motivating anyone is to tap into their dominant will driver.

Note: Want to learn more about will drivers and how they can help you motivate your teachers? Check out ​our Pocket PD: Will Driver Bundle which explains each of the four will drivers and how you can use them to better understand and motivate your teachers.


You see the big mistake many leaders make is to try to motivate people based on their own dominant will driver. So, if I am driven by mastery for instance, then I tend to try to motivate others by showing them how they can get better at what they are doing. I give them a lot of “how to” advice for instance, or my feedback is based on how they can get better.

While that may be great for someone who is mastery driven, it is not a powerful way to motivate someone who has a different will driver.

Or suppose my will driver is autonomy. I may try to motivate others based on my own need for independence and agency by giving them plenty of space. That may be great for someone who is also autonomy driven, but a disaster for those who really crave more feedback, more direction, and more support.

When we try to motivate others based on our own will drivers, we often give them the support we would like ourselves without realizing that while that may work for us, they may need something different.

So what often looks like a personality problem, is really a mismatch of will drivers.

Think about that this week as you work with teachers and make sure that you are focusing on their will driver and not your own.

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