Leading a team includes accomplishing the mission while also taking care of people. If your people’s needs aren’t being met, chances are that the mission is going to suffer. Here’s a simple framework you can keep in mind when working with your people to ensure you are meeting their needs.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Back in 1943 psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote a paper called “A Theory of Human Motivation.”
In it, he outlined his idea that people have a wide variety of needs, which all exist in a hierarchy. Some needs are more important than others.
First are the PHYSIOLOGICAL Needs. It’s what you need for survival right now: Air, water, food, along with clothing and shelter.
Next is SAFETY and SECURITY. Long ago, this might have included safety from wild animals. Now it includes things like feeling safe at home, school, and community, having financial security, and protection against accident and illness.
Next comes LOVE and BELONGING. Once you know they will probably live to see the sun rise again, man’s nature as a social being becomes important. Having a sense of belonging and acceptance though family, friends, and teammates is essential.
Once they feel part of a group, ESTEEM becomes important. People have a need to feel respected and valued by those around them.
The final level is called SELF ACTUALIZATION. With all other needs met, man is free to pursue his individual potential, to see what he can accomplish, like mastering the piano or writing a book.
Applying Maslow’s Hierarchy
What does all this mean to you as a leader? As things happen with your team, consider where they are on Maslow’s Hierarchy; and let that guide your actions.
PHYSIOLOGICAL? Safety? Get everyone out of the rain before trying to start a discussion about the next fund raiser.
LOVE AND BELONGING? Make sure the culture on your team is about mutual respect. When someone new shows up, be sure to introduce them and make them feel comfortable.
ESTEEM? How about the next time someone does something great, give them some well-deserved praise in front of the group.
Here’s the Takeaway – As a leader, you have to stay in tune with where your teammates are on the hierarchy; the more you help them meet their needs, the more they will be able to focus on getting the job done.
And that’s your RapidStart Leadership two-minute tip for the day.
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