What motivates you? …Really, what’s your will driver?

So in Truth for Teachers ep 191 with Dr Robyn Jackson, they discuss the challenge of motivating students. 

Why are some disengaged? How can they get their attention?

And as Jackson shares, it’s about knowing their WILL DRIVERS. 

School related or not, this information is RIDICULOUSLY CRUCIAL for any social situation, whether wanting to motivate a colleague to work on a project, or your sibling to help you (without bribery). 


The core idea is this: 

There’s a goal that you want to achieve. However, it’s difficult to get others on board, they just don’t seem engaged or motivated… So what should you do?


So from the 4 will drivers below:

  • Which one do you most identify with?

  • Are you unintentionally motivating others by assuming they have the same will drivers as you?

  • What are the will drivers of the people you want to engage? 


These are the people who want to know HOW something is done. They’re driven to accomplish, and want to know HOW to be successful at a task. 

Essentially, they’re driven by the need to master a thing, and to do it WELL. 

They often ask this:

  • How do I become the best at this?

Side note: I think this is me. I just want to do a ‘good’ job (so in school that was defined by an A+, hence me trying in tests). 


Guide them for how they can excel. Give them extra resources to ‘master’ something. Offer methods for them to improve. 


These are the people who want to be seen, and to feel important. If they connect with who’s giving the work (ie. respect them, see that they also care), they’ll then be motivated to do the work. 

Robyn Jackson mentions that this quote was probably written by a person with a belonging will driver:

“They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”


Show that you’re as invested in this project/situation as they are. Make sure that they’re being heard, and respected. If you’re praising someone, it’s more effective to say “you are a hard worker”, instead of “you worked really hard on this”. The person craves to know WHO they are to you. 


These are the people who CRAVE independence and autonomy. They need to have choices and options. They want to decide what to do instead of being expected to do one thing and only that one thing. 


Make sure the goal is understood, then give them options on how to complete it. Let them decide on the methods, and offer freedom to choose. 


These are the people who NEED to know WHY they’re doing something. Why is it important? What’s the point? 

Otherwise they’re simply not motivated. 

Why are they learning about parabolas? Why are they working on a proposal if it’ll only be glanced at and chucked in the bin? 

If they can’t see why what they’re doing is RELEVANT, and that they’re involved in something that matters, then good luck motivating them. 


Tell them how what they’re doing will apply to some other part of their life. Tell them the ultimate purpose of the thing they’re doing.

Who’s it for? What’s it for? 


So everyone has some level of these 4 core needs (BTW: there’s probably more than 4, but today we’re just discussing these). 

However, one will be more dominant ie. the one you identify with most. 

If you are driven by autonomy, but need to motivate someone driven by mastery, how will you do that? 

How will you adjust your methods to motivate your peers? 

Hope this helped!


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