Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – How to Motivate Your Staff

Top Tips on Leadership – Motivating others

Abraham MaslowYou can’t be a leader without followers so you have to understand how to motivate people to buy into your agenda. Motivation is what makes employees act in certain ways so how can you achieve this? Understanding people’s motives – their reasons for doing something is the key to becoming a good leader.

One of the main theories relating to motivation is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. People have needs. A need is a lack of something, something we want. This produces the drive and desire which motivates us to satisfy that need. Satisfying this need, or getting the thing we want or lack is the goal. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by the American psychologist Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”.  This is a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s theory of motivation is called the “hierarchy of needs”. Maslow believes that people have five main needs in the following order of importance:-

  • Physiological Needs

i) the need to eat
ii) the need to drink
iii) the need to work
iv) the need to sleep
v) the need to reproduce

i) the need for shelter
ii) the need to feel secure

  • Belonging Needs

i) the need to feel part of a group
ii) the need for acceptance

  • Self-Esteem Needs

i) the need to feel good about themselves
ii) the need to be recognised for their achievement

  • Self-Realisation Needs

i) the need for personal fulfilment
ii) the need to grow and develop

Maslow believes that people would not move on down this list to be motivated by the next set of needs until the previous set(s) had been satisfied. here’s a short video which illustrates Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs by drawing on clips from the Disney film ‘Up’.

There are other theories in a similar vein to Maslow.

Alderfer’s Theory

Another theory by Alderfer categorised these needs into three categories:-

  • existence needs
  • relatedness needs
  • growth needs

Good Leaders Recognise People are Different

Leaders and managers need to have this level of understanding if they are to be in a position to motivate their staff. However to be a good leader and manager you need to recognise that people are different. To display the traits of a good leader you need to recognise that some people come to work to earn money (existence needs) and have no desire either to get on with others (relatedness needs), or earn promotion (growth needs). Others work to meet people and have a personal challenge and sense of achievement ( relatedness needs). Others work to gain experience to get promotion (growth needs). For others it maybe a combination of these.

Motivation People with Existence Needs

  • Pay people enough
  • Workplace safe and good environment
  • Incentives – employee of the month
  • Set goals
  • Treat people as individuals

Motivating People with Relatedness Needs

  • Show respect
  • Delegate – give responsibility
  • Give recognition
  • Communicate
  • Involve people in decision-making
  • Encourage ideas
  • Praise people
  • Get to know people
  • Team building days and office away days
  • Celebrate success

Motivating People with Growth Needs

  • Offer support to complete new tasks
  • Give staff and employees a challenge
  • Work should be made interesting
  • Encourage people to think for themselves
  • Keep people informed
  • Ask people what motivates them
  • Stretch people with new work
  • Offer training where possible

How Do you Know When Staff and Employees are Demotivated

  • Increased sickness
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Late
  • Poor quality of work
  • Lack of communication
  • Attitude
  • Frustration

Why Do People Become Demotivated

  • Lack of recognition
  • Boredom
  • Lack of involvement
  • Not being listened to
  • Lack of encouragement
  • Lack of training
  • No delegation
  • Criticism
  • Too much work

How to Motivate Your Staff – Our Training Courses and Workshops

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