Psychology students may recall Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which posits that we all have different needs that we continually strive to achieve. The needs fit into a pyramid, wherein the bottom-level needs must be met before “moving up” to the next level of needs.
The lowest level of the pyramid covers physiological needs (warmth, shelter, food, sex, enough money to live on); the next level encompasses safety needs (a sense of security/absence of fear); after this comes social needs (interaction with other people – having friends). At the next highest level are esteem needs (being well regarded by other people; appreciated), and at the highest level are self-actualization needs (realizing individual potential, winning, achieving).
Only when one level’s needs are met to our satisfaction can we move up to the next need level. The challenge to you bosses out there – and each of you individually – is to keep working to move up the ladder.
The more ambitious and satisfied the individual personality is, the greater the potential for contribution to the organization. In essence, employees don’t just need money and rewards; they also need and want respect and interaction.
This is your challenge when designing jobs, working conditions and organizational structure. You must learn how to stroke all of those different needs that your employees have.
Of course the whole burden of motivation shouldn’t be on the boss. Rather, every individual has an obligation to make a serious effort at self motivation.
When I facilitate my workshop on Showroom Selling Skills, I stress how important it is to have a great, positive attitude. That means bouncing out of bed in the morning knowing that today is going to be a great day, looking forward to going to work, and letting that enthusiasm for your life and job show each and every day. This may sound difficult, but if you really want to enjoy life more and get the most out of it, you must learn how to be positive and excited as much of the time as possible.
The bottom line is that, if you’re not having fun at work, you need to do something about it! Nobody has a gun to your head saying that you have to continue to be unhappy. You are in charge of your life.
I’ll close with a challenge: spend 15 minutes a day listening to a CD, watching a DVD or reading a book on subjects that will make you better and happier. This small investment will help you realize a huge return.
If you’re a boss and you’re not sure whether you are a good motivator, e-mail me at email@example.com for a copy of my short self-appraisal test: “Are You a Good Motivator?”