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In order to achieve High Commitment and High Performance in their organizations, leaders must create workplace experiences that, first, satisfy the human needs of their employees and, second, motivate them to meet specific goals.

human dna double helixTo create workplace experiences that deliver desired results, leaders must encourage ownership, foster mutual understanding and agreement, and build trust. In the pursuit of these objectives, leaders do well to consider and address Human Givens.

Human Givens

Over time, humans have evolved innate physical and emotional needs. Throughout their lives, people instinctively seek to meet these needs. When they do, they thrive and prosper. When they don’t, they present a range of physical as well as psychological symptoms of distress.

The Human Givens Institute, growing out of the work of psychologists and psychotherapists trying to understand the way people in distress can be helped, has identified ten Human Givens: Security, Attention, Autonomy, Intimacy, Community, Friendship, Privacy, Status, Competence, and Purpose.

To help leaders address these Human Givens, we provide a framework we call Feel. Think. Act. Talk. It helps leaders manage their emotion, cognition, behavior, and communication. Next we help them use their natural and learned Attraction Powers to create workplaces in which Human Givens can flourish.

Success in addressing Human Givens depends on how well leaders apply the following six Attraction Powers. See below how each addresses two or more Human Givens, in red.


People follow leaders who clearly define what is expected of them. They respect leaders who hold them accountable for delivering on those expectations. Leaders who demonstrate Accountability develop in their employees a sense of Competence and Purpose. These two, in turn, develop Autonomy.


Leaders help people satisfy their need for Attention, Security, and Connection with Empathy. These three Human Givens are addressed when employees feel that their leader has genuine care and consideration for them and wants them to succeed and do well.


Leaders demonstrates Maturity when they respond to events in an appropriate and effective manner. This kind of behavior also provides Security. Working alongside a mature leader gives employees ongoing examples of how to act appropriately within the culture. This fosters Competence, Purpose, Status, and Community.


Leaders who celebrate achievement readily provide Status for employees within the organization. As employees feel confident their leader accepts them—their strengths as well as their flaws—they gain Competence and more easily bring fun and friendly team spirit into their environment. Engagement, then, fosters Intimacy and Community as employees gain a sense of belonging.


By example, reflective leaders demonstrate the value of Privacy when they visibly take time out to consider their actions and make long-range plans for the good of the organization. People respect and follow leaders who encourage them to stretch the way they think and behave, inspire them to persevere, and confirm a sense Purpose.


People need to feel that the time they invest will pay off over time. Leaders who demonstrate that they have the courage and tenacity to see challenges through to completion and success, answer their employees’ need for Security and Purpose.

Learn and Practice

If you really want to learn and put into practice the most effective ways to address Human Givens, I strongly recommend our CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach Program. There you will learn and practice the leadership skills you need to address alongside leaders like you from other organizations with many of the same challenges.

Learn more about CoachQuest.


Helanie Scott
Helanie Scott
Helanie (pronounced yeh-LAH-nee) Scott, CEO and founder of Align4Profit in Dallas, Texas, has driven stunning leadership and cultural transformations for an impressive list of organizations. She has mastered the ability to connect with her audiences in the boardroom, classroom, on stage, or in one-on-one coaching sessions. Helanie’s Align4Profit clients rave at the way her engaging programs freshen outdated mindsets and deliver results-oriented, aligned action.