The Most Powerful Way to Motivate Anybody


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You're listening to the School Leadership Reimagined Podcast, episode number ​​​​six.

Welcome to the School Leadership Reimagined podcast...

where we rethink what's possible to transform your school. If you're tired of settling for small wins and incremental improvement, then stay tuned to discover powerful and practical strategies for getting every teacher in your school moving towards excellence. Now, here's your host, Robyn Jackson. ​

Hello there, and welcome back to another episode of the school leadership reimagined podcast. I'm your host, Robyn Jackson, and today we're going to talk about you. Do you remember last time in episode five when I introduced you to well drivers. While you may not be aware of this, but you also have a dominant will driver and your will driver, it's not only the way that you're motivated, it's also the lens through which you see the world. Not only that, but your will driver. It influences the way that you respond to other people and the way that they respond to you. So in this episode I'm going to talk to you about how your dominant will driver affects the way that you interact with others and how you can adjust your style so that you can be more effective at motivating and moving all of the people that you serve, even if they don't have the same driver as you do.

So I want to start by telling you a story...

It's a little embarrassing, but I'll go first. So I remember once when I was observing a teacher in my building. Now I was fairly new to the building. So this was my first observation with a teacher and after the observation I sat down and I carefully crafted my feedback. I used all the right questions that I was taught to ask and I have to tell you by the time I was done, my feedback was. It was just a me thing. I'll just say it, I'm not even tooting my own horn here. Oh, OK. Well maybe I'm tooting my own horn a little bit, but I'm telling you my feedback was insightful. It was targeted. I checked off all of the quote unquote amazing feedback boxes. I mean, you probably could have framed my feedback document and put it and hung it up in some sort of district board office as this exemplar of great feedback.

It was just that good. I'm just saying. So anyway, I sat down and met with the teacher and I started going through my amazing feedback that I had created and instead of sitting there and thanking me for this great feedback, she just kept getting more and more agitated and more and more, you know, just you could tell with her body language that she wasn't feeling my feedback at all and it baffled me really because here I was giving her all of this just awesome feedback and she wasn't feeling it at all. She was not getting excited about it. So finally I just couldn't take it anymore and I just her flat out what was wrong and this is what she said to me. She said, you just, you're sitting there and you're saying all these things about my lesson and you don't even know me.

I'm sitting there like, are you kidding me? No, you excuse me. I mean, I was so confused. I mean, what does, knowing that she has a cat or or knowing that she likes sunsets and walks on the beach, what does that have to do with what was going on in her classroom and by that time I was just so confused and I was so annoyed and I just thought she was just trying to dodge my feedback. Now I realized that that was an unfair assessment. Something else was going on that day and years later, I really wished that I could go and apologize to her because of how I handle things because based on what I know now, I would've handled things a little differently. You see that teacher wasn't being overly sensitive and she wasn't trying to avoid my feedback. What was happening was far more complex. I call it the clash of the will drivers and not only does it happen all of the time, it's literally ruining our relationships with others and it's killing our ability to build better instruction and better school cultures. Now, before I get into what I mean by all of that, I want you to know that

​Today's episode is sponsored by...

 the will driver bundle. Now the ​will driver bundle is a group of four mini books, one for each will drivers. So there's a book for autonomy. There's a book for mastery. There's a book for purpose, and there's a book for connection. And each of these books explain how that will drive her, affects how you motivate others and how you get others to move. And then it shows you how you will drive or impacts them, especially people who have different wheel drivers in yours. And finally, each book shows you how to adjust your style so that you can have a greater impact with those who share your Will drivers and with those who have a different driver than yours. So if you want to have a greater impact on those that you lead, you really need this bundle. And if you are supporting other leaders, you need to get this bundle for them because it really maps out how each will driver affects your buildership style and how it affects how you come across to other people. So you can grab these bundles today by going to mindsteps inc. Dot com slash will driver. 

Ok, so what Do I mean by the Clash of the Will Drivers? 

I mean, it sounds like some sort of superhero movie, doesn't it? Well actually if you really think about it, it is kind of a superhero movie because once you understand your own Will drivers and you understand how it affects other people, you are able to become kind of a superhero to those you serve. That's because if you know your driver, then you know your superpower and you can use it intentionally for good. SO let's go back to the example that I shared with you in the beginning of this episode.

If you remember from episode five, my dominant will driver is mastery. So as a mastery driven leader, I gave the teacher mastery focused feedback. I was so focused on mastering the light way of doing feedback and I was so focused on showing her how to improve her lesson that I didn't even consider that she may need feedback differently than what I was doing, and the problem was that the teacher I was giving that feedback to her dominant driver was connection, so she couldn't even hear my feedback until I made a connection with her first. So even though I gave her amazing feedback, it was an amazing to her. She couldn't even hear it because I was feeding my dominant will, driver wasn't feeding hers, and I'm telling you folks, it happens all the time. we tend to try to motivate others based on our dominant will driver and not theirs.

So the first step is you need to understand what your dominant will driver is.

Now it would take me way too long to talk to you about all the different ways that you can discover your dominant will driver here on this episode. So here's what I did for you. I created a wheel driver quiz and it's a short little online quiz that you can take to help you figure out what your dominant wolf driver is, but before I tell you where you can find the quiz, I do need to warn you. This is not a sophisticated psychometric test here. It's more like one of those online quizzes. You know the ones where you know which marvel superhero are you or things like that, but it can help you think through your wheel driver and it can give you some direction. So if you're not sure what your dominant will driver is, you can go ahead and take the quiz and I'll give you the link to the quiz at the end of this episode because I know that if I give it to you right now, some of you just going to go over and leave me here hanging, talking to myself because you're so anxious about taking the quiz.

So hear me out first, listen to this episode and at the end of this episode I'll give you the link to the quiz so that you can go ahead and take it. If you're still not sure what your dominant will do, every is by the end of this episode. For now, know this, once you understand your dominant will driver, you're going to start to see it show up in just about everything that you do from the way you give teachers feedback to how you support teachers, to how you help those you serve, be more accountable to how you contribute to your school culture. It doesn't matter. Everything you do is driven by your dominant will driver. So what I'm going to do now is I'm going to go through all four wheel drivers and I'm going to show you how each one affects your own buildership style and how it affects your ability to lead and impact other people.

So let's start with autonomy...

Autonomy driven builders tend to give everyone exactly what they need to be successful, and then they give people room to make the right choices. If you're an autonomy driven builder, you don't really interfere with people for the most part. Instead what you do is you put structures and supports in place and then you trust people to do the right thing, so your style is pretty hands off and it's not that you don't care, it's just that you don't feel like you should have to force anyone to do anything. You don't want to be forced to do anything and you don't want to force anybody else to do anything either. So can you see how your dominant will driver might affect others in a really significant way. So I don't remember. Once I was leading a workshop with school principals and I was helping them discover their own drivers and during the break a principal came up to me and he said, now I know why last year it didn't work.

He started kind of laughing and so I laughed with them and I said, ok, well tell me what you mean by that. And he said, well, last year we were going to really focus on increasing the level of rigor in our school. So I bought your book how to plan rigorous instruction for every teacher in the building. I got some other resources. We had some online courses, our coaches had a whole bunch of resources and at the beginning of the year I met with the entire school and I said, ok, this year we're going to focus on rigor. We need to increase the level of rigor in our schools so everybody go out there and be rigorous and immediately teachers start raising their hand, well, w how do you want us to do it? And the principal said, well, I've got all kinds of resources for. You've got books. I've got online courses.

If you find a pd that you want to participate in, go ahead and do that. Your instructional coaches are here, they're ready to help you. Let's go out there and be rigorous, and then people start saying, well, which one do you want us to do first? He said, whatever resource you want, go ahead, be rigorous, and then he thought he was done and teachers didn't not get moving the entire year. They kept asking him, well, do you want us to read the book first or do you want us to take a course first or do you want us to work with the coach first, and he was so frustrated by the end of the year and at that workshop he realized what was the matter. He's an autonomy driven principle, but it's staff wasn't autonomy driven. They were mostly mastery driven. Their big question was how should we be rigorous? He was autonomy driven, so he was love to answer that question because autonomy driven builders don't like to tell other people what to do, so the whole year he's in this push, pull tug of war with his staff.

They're saying, tell us how to do, and he's saying, I'm not going to tell you how to do it. You need to figure out how to do it, do it on your own. Here are the resources. Go ahead and do it. And he didn't even realize it. He thought that they were just being resistant and they weren't being resistant at all. He was feeding his will driver and not their will driver. So that's what can happen if you're not aware of your Will drivers, you think that you're giving people exactly what they need because that's what works for you, but in fact, you may be making it so that people can't get going and it can be very frustrating for both of you, especially for those who you're to move because you're feeding them what it takes to get you going. But it may not be what it takes to get them going.

And it's usually not that they don't want to move. It's usually that you have to give them what they need to get going and you're not doing that. So if you're an autonomy driven, your superpower is that you trust people to get the job done and you're really great at getting people exactly what they need to do their jobs. You're not bossy like I am. You give people room, but just be careful that you don't give them so much room that they think that you don't care or that you're asleep at the wheel. You may not need a lot of direction for yourself, but other people do so be prepared to offer more direction for the people who need it. Ok?

Mastery driven builders...

It's your turn that's a mastery driven person. You Want to do things right and you want to do them the right way and believe me, you often know what the right way is. Others may not be aware of what the right way is, but you're all too happy to show them. Mastery driven people tend to be very goal oriented and your frustration is that others don't seem to care as much about the goal and about doing things the right way as you do so. You tend to support others by giving them a lot of feedback, a lot of direction, a lot of resources, and they're all designed to help them do things the way that they should be done and your biggest frustration is that people just don't seem to care or have the same sense of urgency about doing things the right way. As you do now, is any of that sounding familiar to any of you out there right now? Because if it is, you're probably mastery driven. Now I'm mastery driven, so this is something that I'm acutely aware of, but I'm not the only one because a lot of educators, what we tend to be mastery driven.

That's what attracts us to this field and we mastery driven people were the bossy pants of the Will drivers spectrum. But if we're not careful, that can get us into a ton of trouble. So I'll use myself as an example because I'm make mastery driven full pop all the time. So about a year ago I was doing a workshop series for a group of principals on how to increase rigorous instruction in their schools and I was helping them develop this rollout plan for this rigorous instruction professional development program that I was going to be delivering to their teachers so that the principals could get a grip on how things are going to work and make sure that they were incorporating it into their overall school program. So we were discussing the out process as a group and one principal in the back raised his hand and asked this question.

He said, what's the research basis for this process? Well, ok, I have a research basis. So I happily explained to him the research and I even gave him a few research articles that I had used to develop the plan that we were going to be using, but I thought that was it. And I got back to explaining to people how the plan was going to work, but he raised his hand again and so I'm starting to a little annoyed, but I'm like, ok, yes. And I acknowledged his hand and then he says, how does this process compare to the six sigma process for change? And I sat there looking at, I'm like, duh, it's just better, but I knew that answer wouldn't do. So I tried to patiently explain to him why the process worked without trashing the six sigma process because you know, I didn't want to insult him or anything like that.

Then I go back to showing people, ok, this is how we're going to use the plan and how we're going to do the rollout process, but it's god's not done with me. And he raises his hand. Again. I mean, come on, so again, I put this polite smile on my face and I call on him and he goes, are you familiar with the work of blah blah blah and blah blah blah, and I say blah, blah blah. Because at that point I had stopped listening. I told him, look, I'm not familiar with their work, and then he proceeds to go and explain the research and by now I'm getting really annoyed, but I wasn't the only one because others in the room started rolling their eyes and shifting uncomfortably in their seats and what's with this guy, but he would not shut up. And so after you finished his dissertation, I said, thanks for sharing that, but we really need to get back to this.

And then I went back to what I was explaining and then a few minutes later he hand goes up again. I mean, ok look, I will spare you the rest of the story. Just know that he just kept raising his hand over and over and over again. And by the time we got started on our individual work where we were completing the actual plans, I was so happy because I didn't feel like answering any more questions. So I was circulating around the room and I was checking in on people and he motioned for me to come over and I'll be honest, I wanted to pretend that I didn't see him, but that would have been unprofessional. So reluctantly I went over to him and ask him what he needed. And then he asked me some other out-of-the-blue question and yeah, I just lost it. I said, look, I'm getting the feeling that you really don't want to use this process.

But he looked at me and he was surprised. I said, they said, well, make you think that. I mean really what, what would make me think that? How about the thousands of questions that you keep asking me? But I didn't say that I said it much more politely. I said, well, you keep asking all these questions. And he looked genuinely surprised when he said, if I don't ask questions, how am I supposed to understand this process? I just want to make sure that I'm doing it right. Then all of a sudden it hit me. He's purpose-driven and purpose driven. Folks cannot get started until they understand why they're doing something and because I'm mastery driven. I hadn't spent enough time explaining the why. I was like, look, I've done the research. this is the right way. Do what I tell you and you'll be successful.

Then I know that sounds terribly arrogant to some of you, but that's how mastery driven folk thing and so don't hate on us. Ok? [inaudible] to tell you the truth, we're usually right. We usually have put in that kind of work. So this guy, he wasn't mastery driven, he was purpose driven and that's why he was asking all these questions because that's how he learned. He learned by raising questions and pushing back and here I was so intent on showing them how to do this plan that I had failed to show him why he should be doing the plan. I mean the why was obvious to me because I had done all the work to make the plan up in the first place, but the y wasn't obvious to him and that's the challenge with being mastery driven. We think we're right and for the record we usually are, but so what?

It doesn't matter if we're right. It only matters that we help other people do the work, so when we don't bother to help other people get to where we are, if we get really impatient with people, we don't bring them along with us and then that leads to resentment and resistance. Instead what we need to be doing. If your mastery driven, you need to take the time to help others come to the same brilliant conclusion that you've arrived at and you don't need to be so intent on being right all the time, that you hurt the relationship in the process and you can't insist so much about our rightness, that we take away all of the choices from others who need those choices in order to be motivated. so got that. Mastery builders, you guys, your superpower is that you typically focus on the right way to do things and you often know what that is, but just because it's the right way doesn't mean it's the only way and we have to be open to other people who may not be motivated that way.

All right Connection driven folks...

I'm coming down your block right now because as a connection driven builder, your first aim is relationships. What you do is you strive to connect with others and establish that connection first before you do anything else. In fact, you can't work if you don't feel connected to those with whom you work. Relationships aren't just important to you. They are everything to you. Now that sounds noble, but it can present its own challenges because you're so deeply sensitive to the relationships around you, but you tend to take everything good or bad personally. So I once worked with an instructional coach who was connection driven and she worked really, really hard to cultivate strong relationships with all of our teachers and they loved her to death. She knew all their kids names. She went to every baby shower, every graduation, every funeral.

She put sweet notes and the teachers boxes, encouraging them about their work. She was just wonderful, but she really struggled to get her teachers moving in the right direction. They loved her for sure, but she was so concerned about not hurting their feelings that she didn't really give them the tough feedback that they needed to grow, so while she built a really strong team, her team wasn't growing, and that's a challenge of being a connection driven builder. Relationships are important. Yes, they're critical actually, but you can't be so afraid that you're going to destroy the relationship that you fail to help people be accountable. You're really good at building strong relationships. That's your strength, that's your superpower, but you've got to trust those relationships that you've worked so hard to build so that you're not afraid to give people the truth about their practice. Now, here's something else.

Connection driven. Builders tend to take things personally and you can't. Just because someone doesn't want to work closely with you doesn't mean that they don't want to work with you at all. It may be that they're just autonomy driven and they need some space. Understand that while relationships are very important to you, they may not be as important to everyone else. In fact, when you understand and respect people's wills, drivers, you can have an even stronger relationship with them because you're meeting them where they are.

Alright, purpose-driven builders, it's your turn now. 

Someone who purpose driven you really captivated by ideas the actual work, not so much you love talking about the purpose you love arguing about the purpose. your favorite question is why you bring a ton of passion to the table and you can really inspire others to this higher calling or to this bigger important goal, but the challenges that oftentimes you process information by pushing back or even arguing you love playing the devil's advocate and doing so.

Really help Submit your purpose and it helps really crystallize your ideas. However others don't see it that way. They interpret your testing out ideas as being combative or obstructionist, or they may even think that you don't really know what you want because you're trying on all these different ideas. So can you see how, what is a strength for you can be a liability when dealing with others? Well, I once worked with a purpose driven leader who was on fire for his school. He would get up, he would give these impassioned inspirational speeches about what they needed to be doing on behalf of students and to get everybody all excited and people would lead the staff meeting all empowered and excited about what was ahead. But that excitement with soon we're off and then things will go back to normal and he was so frustrated because he couldn't seem to get a school moving.

Well, when we started working together, he was really frustrated because nothing was changing. He would say things like, there's just no sense of urgency. These people seem to be satisfied with the status quo. So I asked him about his action plan and he said, well, my action plan is that we need to increase rigor in every classroom. No students should go through the day without encountering rigor. These kids are so bored. They need teachers who are going to challenge them to think. And I agreed with him, but then I said, but what about your plan? And again, he told me all the reasons why they needed rigor in their school and round around we went later, I met with some of the teachers and I ask them about rigor and they all nodded and they all agreed, yeah, we need rigor here. So then I asked them, well, what's the problem?

Why? Why weren't they moving towards rigor? And then one teacher told me she wasn't sure how to increase rigor in her classroom. She was reading a couple of books, but she needed something really practical to help her get started. And another teacher, that teacher complained about ok Rigor is important but and I believe we should do it, but it's not the only important thing here because what she was struggling with was how to get kids motivated. And she was wondering why aren't we talking about that? And every teacher could fully articulate the vision for rigor in every classroom, but few of them were getting moving because it was just a vision. Say that's a challenge with being a purpose driven builder. Your superpower is that you can clearly see the vision, you know what the big why is, or what the big wise should be. Plus you're usually very well versed in the alternatives.

You've looked at a lot of different things before you've arrived at this vision, but sometimes you can get so caught up in the idea that you don't put any meat on those bones. You don't actually take that idea and make it concrete and that can be very frustrating for those teachers who believe in the same purpose, but they need more concrete guidance to make it happen in their classroom. So stay inspirational. We need you for that, but make sure that you also take your ideas and you flesh them out. Make them more concrete so that the rest of us can access them. So that's just a quick overview about how your wheel driver affects the way you attempt to motivate and move others and the way others react to you. What I hope I've done here in this episode is I've opened your eyes to the fact that you're will driver directly affects your effectiveness as a builder and if you're not aware of your wheel driver or if you don't adjust your style to meet people where they are, you may end up repelling the very people you're trying to attract to your vision.

So before we go...

I want to remind you about today's freebie, which is the will driver quiz. So if you're not sure what your dominant will driver is yet, go ahead and take the quiz and that quiz might help you figure things out. Now you can find the slash will driver and I'll also put the link in the show notes and then once you figure out what your will driver is, well you need to get the driver bundle which contains four mini books, one for each of the four wheel drivers and it goes into a lot more detail about how that will driver affects the way that you come across to others and how you can adjust your style so that you're able to really impact other people who have different drivers than yours and if you coach or if you supervise principals or assistant principals or coaches, then you really should get this bundle for them so that they can see how there will driver is impacting their effectiveness and you can show them how they can learn to harness their will driver and use their powers for the gut.

​So again, you can get the driver bundle at the same place where the quizzes, that's Now finally, if you have any questions about this week's episode, feel free to hit me up on linkedin and if we're not connected on linkedin yet while I'm starting to take that a little personally, so don't hurt my feelings, just find me at Robyn Jackson and linkedin and then let's come back and I'll forgive you. It'll all be forgotten. So that's it for today's episode. 

Next time...

we're going to be tackling something that I've been getting a lot of questions about and that's this. How do you overcome a toxic culture? So we're going to start a two part series on toxic culture. Starting next week with episode seven. first we're going to talk about six sneaky little signs that let you know that your culture is starting to turn toxic. And then in episode eight we're going to talk about how you can detoxify your culture. So make sure that you stay tuned for those two upcoming episodes. they're going to be really powerful because we're going to talk about how to deal with culture, lack of builder. That's it for today and I will talk to you next time.

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