Individual Motivation
All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common; it was the
willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in
their time. is, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.
—John Kenneth Galbraith
Psychoanalysis is used to open a window into individual behaviors, as well
as into organizational environments, cultures, and management theory. It
promotes a better understanding of how environments and management
interactions can aect an individual by directly analyzing the impact on
the unconscious mind and in return the impact that the unconscious mind
can have on individual behaviors. Psychoanalysis confronts the uncon-
scious mind in a formalized manner evaluating the implicit and explicit
impacts that culture, environment, and leadership have on it (Foucault
Organizations form a unique culture and environment that can range
from a positive or negative perspective. ey demonstrate, through the
interaction of individuals, a society where social dynamics are acted out.
Each will vary in the manner through which culture and social norms
are established and demonstrated, but cultural trends such as authori-
tarianism or narcissism weave themselves into the psycho-structures of
organizations, aecting leadership, communication, and group relations
(Carr 1993; Lasch 1980). No organization is either 100 percent positive or
negative; it exists on a spectrum where there are many shades of gray. e
psychoanalytical approach focuses not on the right techniques to moti-
vate, but instead on the concept that through work people pursue many
dierent conscious and unconscious aims, and that organizational culture
has a tremendous impact on behavior (Gabriel and Carr 2002).
72 • Program Management Leadership
ough organizations create innovation, creativity, and have unique
levels of risk tolerance, they can also create an environment that breeds
anxiety if goals or objectives are not met. Each organization holds its sta
responsible for individual performance, oentimes forcing people to work
together in performance tasks that are not enjoyed, and can be found treat-
ing employees in an impersonal and cold manner while requiring those
same individuals to demonstrate loyalty and support to the organization
itself. e agreement between a company and its sta is that individu-
als are paid for their work eort, yet negative impacts can occur in per-
forming the work. Negative impacts can create feelings of fear or anxiety
which, in a work environment, can be seen as an “incapacitating emotion
which individuals defend themselves against through the mechanisms of
defense” (Gabriel and Carr 2002, 35).
In “e Ego and Id,” Freud (1923) evaluated individuals and dened
motivators that explain the need to achieve gains such as satisfaction in
creation or solving complex problems, personal rewards, or maintaining
a level of safety and security. Individuals have their own conscious and
unconscious motivators driving their performance and investment in
their jobs. Whether those are growth, job stability, increased income, or
ego driven, the reasons that people perform in their jobs can be complex.
e negative impact of anxiety resulting through organizational inter-
action is that individuals “oen resort to dysfunctional routines which
stunt creativity, block the expression of emotion or conict, and above all,
undermine the organizations rational and eective functioning” (Gabriel
and Carr, 2002, conict, and above all, undermine the organizations
rational and eective functioning’ (Gabriel and Carr 2002, 356). ese
defenses against anxiety can create collective delusions causing a ght-or-
ight reaction from nonexistent threats while ignoring real issues related
to the work at hand. In addition, the defense mechanism in most individu-
als responding to anxiety or implied attacks is a negative one, diminishing
innovation, risk tolerance, and support for the eorts at hand; “excessive
anxiety leads to highly dysfunctional defensive routines, while inadequate
anxiety breeds complacency, inertia, and gradual decay” (Gabriel and
Carr 2002, 369). When a level of anxiety is maintained for a long dura-
tion of time, individuals begin to lose interest in their current positions
and attempt to modify their professional situations through job search-
ing, disengaging, and decreased motivation, leading to low morale and the
inevitable outcome of increased attrition.

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