Using Maslow’s Hierarchy

Building a happier, more satisfied team

Good leaders recognize that if they're to build productive and highly successful teams, they need to understand and look after the needs and well-being of team members. This is a fundamental part of the "emotional contract" between leaders and their teams: When followers know they're being looked after by their leader, they'll usually give their best in return. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a popular way of thinking about people's needs. Developed by psychologist Abraham Maslow as early as 1943, this theory contends that as humans strive to meet our most basic needs, we also seek to satisfy a higher set of needs. Maslow presents this set of needs as a hierarchy, consisting of: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Physiological/bodily needs. Safety needs. Love/belonging needs. Self-esteem. Self-actualization (the desire to be "all that you can be").

The theory argues that the most fundamental level starts with the physiological need for food, water and shelter. This is followed by security and social needs. Maslow believed that the higher level needs, such as self-esteem and self-fulfillment, could only be met after the lower level needs had been satisfied.

Understanding the Theory:
Maslow's hierarchic theory is often represented as a pyramid, with the lower levels representing the more fundamental needs, and the upper levels representing the growth/being needs, and ultimately the need for self-actualization. According to the theory, the higher needs in the hierarchy become evident only after all the needs that are lower down in the pyramid are met.

While most adults are not acutely aware of security needs until a crisis arises. one in which a give-andtake relationship is nurtured. the physiological ones come first in the person's search for satisfaction. production and motivation. Level 2: Security According to Maslow. driving up self-esteem. This will positively impact the employee and the employee's motivation levels. Body Physiological needs are biological needs and include the needs for oxygen. productivity. Level 4: Self-Esteem Once the first three classes of needs are met. Social Once the needs for safety are met. it is important to understand this need and for managers to provide a safe workplace. Maslow states that people seek to overcome feelings of loneliness and alienation and managers must understand this to ensure employee involvement. Level 3: Belonging. feel inferior and worthless and he or she may withdraw. the need for a sense of belonging. Level 5: Self-Actualization . ability to work on a team and alone. etc. etc. the need for self-esteem can become dominant. an employee may become frustrated. if these needs are not met. They are the basis for the hierarchy and are the strongest needs because if a person were deprived of all needs. water. food.These levels are: Level 1: Physiology. Because this includes the esteem a person gets from others. becomes evident. managers who understand this can use this tool to help ensure employees and team members feel valued and respected. etc. the need for security becomes evident only after a person's physiological needs are met. On the other hand. shelter.

. during a quarterly review). It usually doesn't cost much to provide a safe working environment. And it costs nothing to compliment people on a job well done. It's often inexpensive to have team socials (for example. knowing that as such. However the reality is usually that they have a fixed "pot" of raises to offer to their team members. they're doing their best to build highly effective. According to Maslow. Using the Theory: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is not so much a technique or process to use as an idea to have in mind when you're thinking about how you meet a team member's needs (for example. even if they don't have much money to give out. it is important to help employees or team members find this. self-actualization is a person's need to do that which he or she feels they are meant to do. Maslow's theory is important for two reasons: Firstly it points out that people's needs are not just met by hard cash (which arguably addresses levels 1 and 2).The need for self-actualization develops only after all of the foregoing needs are satisfied. it gives managers a whole range of tools that they can use to build team satisfaction. they can still be unsatisfied if these needs aren't met. unproductive and may even look for satisfaction elsewhere. Maslow's Hierarchy gives hard-pressed managers "permission" to be "good bosses". As such. and this often does not allow the rewards they want to give. Secondly. As a manager. and while people may be very well paid. otherwise the employee will become dissatisfied. People have many needs which have to be met. Managers often instinctively want to use salary raises as a way of motivating team members. highly productive teams. restless. around a barbecue) where team members can get to know one-another outside the work environment.