Flourishing Culture

Practical Applications of Self Determination Theory

November 4, 2016

Perhaps you have had the wake-up call that your organization needs to change but you struggle with the implementation.  Your internal surveys reveal a workforce that is not engaged.  They feel the workplace does not afford growth opportunities and lacks supportive management. You see the pattern:  you hire Millennials and you can’t retain them.  This revolving door is costly. It impacts morale and your ability to get the work done. 


While it is beyond the scope of a 400-word blog to cite all the research that has been done in the field of motivation, I look to Self Determination Theory (see blogs entitled Self Determination Theory Part I and Self Determination Theory Part II) for practical applications.  People will be motivated and experience well-being at work when: they feel they have some control over what they do; they do work that shows they are capable and competent; and they experience connections with others.


Here are some management practices that focus on specific ways to satisfy peoples’ basic psychological needs.  As you read through this list, rate to what extent you personally exhibit these behaviors. 


Scale:  1 = Never; 2 = Rarely or Seldom; 3 = Sometimes; 4 = Most of the Time; 5 = Always or Almost Always







I structure work assignments so employees have autonomy over how they get the work done, which includes seeing a job through from beginning to end.






I solicit employee input in decision-making and ask for their ideas.






I make certain that job assignments have variety.






I ask my employees what needs to be fixed and give them an active role in the problem-solving process.






I am clear in job assignments and expectations.






I define the level of authority for the work being assigned.






I create stretch goals that are achievable and we develop these goals together.






I find opportunities to use and develop the skills of my subordinates.






I am an available and supportive supervisor/manager.






I am present.






I am positive.






I am fair.






I provide productive feedback and process praise.






I meet regularly with my subordinates to monitor and evaluate their progress.






©2016.  Flourishing Culture Consultants, LLC.  All rights reserved.

How did you do?  What did you learn?  What might you find yourself doing differently? 

Implementing these practices will create a flourishing culture where your people count.  One could argue these practices take too much time. I get it.  But, I truly believe it’s more costly in terms of time and human capital not to do these things.  

If you want to continue this conversation and discuss your results and next steps, email me at joyceschroeder@flourishingcultures.com.


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