Free thinkers. Mavericks. Rebels. The ones who want their way or the high way. Creative and ambitious, energetic and driven, employees with a self-authoring mind have their own agenda and they keep to it no matter what. Dealing with the self-authoring mind as a leader is totally different from dealing with the socialized mind we talked about in our last article. Keeping such employees motivated is much more difficult but also brings considerably bigger rewards. Let`s see why, in the third article of our series about evolutionary leadership, as concieved by Richard Barrett.

Employees with self-authoring minds are independent thinkers

First and foremost, the self-authoring mind is an independent mind. It responds to a situation, opportunity or request by seeking to further its agenda and wants to be accountable and take initiatives, but it wants to do it its own way. People with self-authoring minds are ambitious and focused on achievement and they tend to take on a leadership role. Two self-authoring minds can easily clash, especially if they hold different views on how things should be done. The figure bellow shows us what motivates people who operate with a self-authoring mind.

self-authoring mind

Employees with a self-authoring mind view their work as a long-term career, with milestones and a goal. While satisfying their basic needs is mandatory, what truly motivates them is having the opportunities to satisfy their first order growth needs: challenging situations for them to evolve and meaningful work. When these needs are met they feel a strong sense of engagement and they tend to deliver at their full potential. However, if the excitement and challenges they seek dry up or disappear, they will quickly be on the lookout for other opportunities to further their careers. Complex tasks excite them as they can make use of their creativity and power to innovate.

Employees with a self-authoring mind need freedom and fresh challenges

In their search for meaning and purpose self-authoring minds value freedom and autonomy. Unlike people with socialized minds, who tend to view change as a threat, people with self-authoring minds tend to view change as an opportunity. Change has the potential to bring them closer to their career goals. They know how to master their basic needs and they have gained the necessary self-trust to cope with changes in the job market. They know they can adapt and thrive in a dynamic environment. Employees operating with self-authoring minds are usually knowledge workers, skilled technicians and researchers found in medium-level complexity work environments.

So, what are your first impressions on the self-authoring mind? Does it sound familiar? If so, we`d love to learn about ow your experiences with potential self-authoring minded employees – their superpowers and their shortcomings. In our next article we will explore the third and most complex of the three types of mind: the self-transformative mind. Until then, keep talking.

Photo by Ivan Jevtic on Unsplash

Laurentiu Horubet

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