5 Motivators of Behaviour

"Good or bad, everything we do is our best choice at that moment." 

William Glasser

We all have an idea of what we want for a quality life.


However what we want and what is the reality are two different things.

As a result the tension between this quality world and the reality of our world is what shapes our behaviour, and the behaviour we see in others.

To better manage this inner tension, William Glasser developed some tools to effectively recognise and deal with this tension. In this quality world, all actions are designed to meet our basic needs. He identifies these needs and states that when meeting these needs, they must not affect the well being and quality world of others trying to meet their needs.

All behaviour is purposeful. All behaviour is somehow meeting the students needs. The CHoice Action Management Programme (CHAMP) looks at creating an awareness of their actions in light of their personal needs.

The 5 Motivators

The five motivations for behaviour are empowerment; freedom; love, belonging & connectedness; fun & enjoyment, and survival.


"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."  Charles Darwin

The basic need for survival and safety is about eating well, drinking well, getting rest and exercise, keeping safe in risky environments and being free from physical and emotional bullying. We all share and value this basic need. Survival requires other basic needs such as empowerment and belonging to be responsive in addressing the need.


"At any given moment you have the power to say: this is not how the story is going to end" Christine Mason Miller

The basic need of empowerment is about control, personal responsibility and success. It includes mastery of knowledge and skill, achievement and growth. Empowerment is recognising your locus of control in matters of experience and that you have power over one person, yourself. By exercising this finger you are being proactive and owning the situation.  


"With great power come great responsibility."  Uncle Ben Parker

The basic need of freedom is to do with choice. The choice offered is to "be responsible" or to "not be responsible." You can choose to join in, and all the responsibilities that come with this participation, or you can choose not to join in, and take time out. It is an all or nothing choice. No half measures, you can't pick and choose what suits you. 


"Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued, when they can give and receive without judgement."  Brene Brown

The basic need of love, belonging and connectedness requires unconditional inclusion. To be valued for who you are is necessary to create the quality world that you are a part of. Meeting this basic need requires exercising empowerment and fun. Sharing problems, sharing projects, sharing experiences strengthen the belonging and connection between people. Through teamwork, much success can be celebrated.


"Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted."  John Lennon

The basic need of fun and enjoyment recognise that laughter, living in the present, and interactions with others are experiences to be enjoyed. There is always another need that underpins the motivation for this need. This may include empowerment (learning new skills, hobbies), belonging (playing with our friends, card games), or freedom (escape to a movie).

When discussing behaviours with students, we ask "What fingers were you exercising?, What fingers were affected?" It gives them a way to connect the action to the need they were meeting.  

We at Tinker School help them recognise what need their behaviour (Good or Bad) is meeting when they are involved in any of the activities.

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