Abraham Maslow Hierarchy of Needs (A Theory of Human Motivation)

Dr. Abraham Maslow classified alt human needs in order of their importance to the individual and presented them like a pyramid of the five levels. This is commonly known as Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs a theory of human motivation.

Small business managers should attempt to motivate employees under them rightly identifying the status of the individuals on the basis of these hierarchies of needs.

Motivating tools and incentives be selected and applied after the individuals are identified on the basis of their need status.

Maslow hierarchy of needs

According to Maslow, we, as human beings, strive to satisfy these needs in ascending order. Once a lower level is satisfied, we try to satisfy the next level of need.

Note that the first level is the satisfaction of physiological needs-air, water, and food. Once these needs have been satisfied, we need protection from hostile forces, such as criminals and cold weather. These needs form the second level, safety, and security.

Abraham Maslow hierarchy of needs
Abraham Maslow hierarchy of needs
NeedsWays to satisfy needs
  • Pay
  • Company
  • Breakfast or lunch programs
Safety and Security
  • Pay
  • Pensions
  • Seniority
  • Company benefits plans
Belongingness and Love
  • Pay
  • Work teams
  • Sports teams
  • Coffee breaks
  • Company picnics and social events
  • Independence
  • Responsibility
  • Pay as a symbol of status
  • Prestigious office location and furnishings
  • Challenge
  • Independent

The third level, belongingness, and love refer to our need for attention and the acceptance of others. The fourth level, esteem, refers to the need for self-respect, self-esteem, and the esteem of others. Hoe fifth and highest levels have to do with self-actualization.

Activated only when all other needs have been satisfied, this level of needs reflects only when all other needs been satisfied, this level of needs reflects our desire to fulfill our highest potential as individuals.

Self-actualization refers to our need to do what we are best suited to do, just as athletes must compete and entrepreneurs must create. Everyone needs to be motivated, even entrepreneurs.

The difference is that the typical entrepreneur’s motivation comes from within (i.e., the internal drive for growth, power, or money), while the typical employee is not so internally inclined. His or her motivation must come from without.

Enter the entrepreneur turned motivator

There are a number of motivational tools available, all of which are necessary for small business survival and all of which are entrepreneurially unfriendly.

But to the entrepreneurs who are willing to spend the most time and money motivating their employees will go the most committed team. Those motivational tools include:

Abraham Maslow hierarchy of needs
Abraham Maslow hierarchy of needs

1. The organization chart: Employees need to know where they stand today and where they can potentially stand tomorrow if they chose to expend the effort.

2. Job descriptionsEmployees need to know what is expected of them.

3. Compensation plans: Employees need to be compensated. Compensation plans should be designed to motivate as well as to reward.

4. AccountabilityEmployees must be held accountable to achieve those goals.

5. Performance review: Employees need feedback on their ongoing performance.

6. Positive reinforcementEmployees must be publicly appreciated and recognized when their performance deserves it.

7. Goal setting: Employees need defined goals to pursue

8. Negative reinforcementSometimes the bleeding must stop. Think about it. If our machinery squeaks, we oil it.

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