In our last three articles we explored the three types of mind which people use, according to the seven psychological evolution stages, as presented by the Richard Barrett. Now that we know how the socialised, the self-authoring and the self-transforming minds works, we can dive deeper in what their impact on employee engagement is. Leaders will meet all three types of mind in large organizations, treating them accordingly being a key success factor for business growth. Let`s see why.

The mind is mobile and so is employee engagement

Normally, we all start off in life trying to satisfy our basic needs — the needs that correspond to the first three levels of psychological development. We evolve from a socialized mind to a self-authoring mind to the extent we are able to overcome our anxieties and fears about being independent — to survive and thrive on our own — and embrace our sense of mission or purpose. We generally evolve from a self-authoring mind to a self-transforming mind to the extent we can be open to other perspectives — to integrate with others who operate with similar values and share a common purpose. But things don`t stay the same.

The three types of minds are mobile and they can change back and forth. We can go through all three types of mind in a lifetime but if a major change occurs in our life circumstances it immediatly impacts our needs and motivations. For example, if we suddenly face a situation where we have significant financial needs, no matter what stage of psychological development we have reached we will look for work that provides more income. If we feel we need to spend more time caring for an elderly relative, a sick child or a disturbed teenager, we may find ourselves taking a less demanding position that allows us to spend more time with those we care about. When everything goes back to normal and our need for income or personal time declines, we always revert to the motivations from the level of psychological development we were at before the change. The same mobility applies to the levels of engagement of an employee.  The table below helps us better understand this.

employee engagement

The level of engagement an employee feels depends on two main factors: the type of mind the employee is operating from and the level of cultural entropy (a subject we will address in an upcoming article) he or she experiences in their day to day activities. But why is all of this important to leaders?

Employee engagement matters because it delivers business results

When employees feel the organisation cares about them, by meeting their needs, they develop a sense of loyalty and connection to the organisation. Connection increases to commitment when the organisation supports their personal and professional growth. Commitment then increases to emotional and intellectual engagement when the organisation gives them opportunities to do challenging, creative work or work that allows them to make a difference in the world and fulfills their sense of purpose. When employees feel engaged or highly engaged, revenues increase and the portfolio value of the organisation increases. The graph below shows how the portfolio value of the 40 of the best companies to work for in the USA outperformed the S&P 500 during the period 2002 – 2012.

employee engagement

Knowing how to navigate through the three mind types and their evolution will definetely make you a better leader for your team but there is more to it. The Big Bad Wolf who eats employee engagement for breakfast is called „cultural entropy”. We will further develop this topic in our next and final article within the employee engagement conversation. Stay tuned.

Photo by Kelli Tungay on Unsplash


Laurentiu Horubet

Founder & Consultant @ Let's — Talk | Leadership Consultancy