Beef Tips

December 2016 Management Minute

“Maslow’s Hierarchy and the Modern Workplace”

by Chris Reinhardt, Feedlot Specialist

At the base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we strive to meet our physical and physiological needs, such as food, water, shelter, and safety and security. But very soon after these needs are met we have three levels which are very pertinent in the modern workplace.

  1. Belonging. While the workplace may not be the most obvious source of our sense of belonging, many, for better or worse, derive their identity from their career. And others may simply not have a thriving social network or family for support. A healthy workplace, or at least one or more co-workers who are respectful, collegial, and compassionate can actually go a long way to fulfilling that role. With that need (at least partially) met, we move upward to…
  1. Esteem. Again, there are many places from which we may derive our esteem, but the workplace can be a tremendous source of self-esteem for many. All too often, we focus on the ever-changing and evolving challenges extant in the workplace: budget cuts, interpersonal conflict, technological impediments, etc. What gets lost in the malaise of the daily grind is that we are, in fact, getting the job done. We are working, we are succeeding, we are producing. And each participant on the team has a hand in that ongoing success, and that needs to be acknowledged. The astute manager needs to intentionally prioritize acknowledgement, on a frequent and regular basis, not just after delivery of the big order or completion of the major project, but in the midst of the process, when tensions may be heightened or stressors may be greatest. This small effort by the team leader may go a long way to lifting morale, and providing that need of esteem. Although some people glean their self-esteem from tasks, others greatly benefit from personal recognition, no matter how small or private, of their value to the team. And after we feel that we belong to something greater than ourselves and something valuable, and once we feel that we have the esteem of knowing that we have contributed in a meaningful way to the success of the organization, team, or group to which we belong, we are on our way to the final rung of the ladder that is at the tip of Maslow’s hierarchy…

3. Self-actualization.

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