Monday, November 15, 2010

Mr Maslow still has it right!

Students completing Psychology 101 will no doubt start with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  What Mr Maslow did was map out the pyramid of human needs and calculated which were more important than others.  I tend to agree with Mr Maslow and I think he got it right, very right!

If we apply Mr Maslow's work by looking at the skills of a manager - guess what - nothing changes!



Physiological Needs
The base needs for people need to be able to breathe - both literally and metaphorically.  That is people need the time and space to express themselves, to let their creativity and ideas flow and to be able to innovate.  ACTION = schedule some creative time for you and your team to relax, think and explore the possibilities of what if?

Security Needs
Knowing that your job will still exist when you come to work tomorrow is pretty important. Sometimes people get too secure in this area but that tends to be the exception rather than the rule (as far as I know).  And sometimes it is good to have tenure or short term contracts to create momentum and fill the gaps but overall security = production.  ACTION = let your employees know you've got their back.  Let them feel secure and that when it comes to the crunch - you're with them through thick and thin.

Social Needs
People need to feel like they belong, have love and affection. One good friend at work is worth thirty acquantainces.  Social needs are quite complex and need fostering. Managers especially are susceptible to closig off and limiting the people they interact with.  This is due mainly to busyness and the pressures of time.  The need hasn't changed but the method for fulfillment does.  ACTION - find a friend and have coffee with them at least once a fortnight.

Esteem Needs
This can be the make or break of a manager/employee relationship.  Everydody, and especially employees, relate better, work better and get far better results whtn they have a high self-esteem, sense of personal worth, social recognition and accomplishment.  ACTION - Praise your people.

Self-actualizing Needs
This is the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Self-actualizing people are self-aware, concerned with personal growth, less concerned with the opinions of others and interested fulfilling their potential.  So?  Work on developing your people!  Notice that this is the top of the pyramid?  This is the cream on top.  This is where employees move beyond merely showing up and start adding real value to your business.  Let them grow and watch the results come in!  ACTION - work with your people to reflect on their needs and development areas.  Then invest and review.

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